19 years old, born and raised in Romania, Georgiana Saraev loves her country because it has everything she’ll ever need: amazing food, the nicest people and beautiful seasides. She’s a social butterfly and is always there for her friends whenever they need anything. If someone’s in need, she’s the first girl to step up to the plate. Her style icons lately have been Barbara Palvin and Natasha Poly, two girls she looks up to not only for style, but as models! Her favorite designer of the moment is Alexander Wang.

She thinks she’s got a special eye for talent too, when she meets new models she can sense when a girl will hit it big… and she’s usually right!

One of our own needs your help

In a time of economic crisis, perhaps one of the hardest ways to make a living is being a freelance artist. More importantly, being based in the U.S., it is almost impossible to receive healthcare and benefits. The term ‘starving artist’ is thrown around loosely, but what about people that face serious health issues? The reality of it is that, without health care, things can go from a simple worry to something far more terrifying or even life-threatening. The percentage of people that have to go through this is overwhelming.

New York City based photographer Jonathan Waiter was just recently diagnosed with late stage lymphoma(cancer) at a young age. After his first attempt to receive Medicaid was denied, his friends have set up a way for others to donate money to his cause. Jonathan is expecting to go through a year of chemotherapy at minimum.

Jonathan’s work has always spoken for itself, and over the past few years he has developed a style all his own. He was one of the first artists discovered and featured on Ben Trovato back in 2009. Some might describe his work as moody, dark, mysterious, and daring. There is an undeniable talent in the way that he extracts a certain dramatic expression from each of his subjects. That in itself is something that most photographers dream of…not just creating an eye-catching or interesting photograph, but awakening something inside of another. That, to me, has been something that I have always noticed about and admired in his work.

Donate to Jonathan Waiter HERE. Even the smallest contribution counts.

Shot by Ira Chernova

Brooklyn based fashion photographer Ira Chernova‘s one frame of fame.

Ira and model Staz Lindes @ Request NYC did a quick shoot of black and white portraits at Riverside Park in Harlem. Being on the West side of Manhattan, she was able to capture sweeping cityscapes and the Hudson River. The shoot was styled by Rosemary Gonzalez and Amanda Stauffer, and the swimsuit Staz is wearing is by Diane Von Furstenberg.

Ira is also a model @ Request, and has previously been based in London and Moscow.

The Kony Virus, text and photos by Adam DeAngelis

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past two months, then you know who Joseph Kony is. Well, I guess you could say “Kony”. The first name doesn’t matter in this case. Actually, the date would be a great add on. So let’s start over. Kony 2012 swept the internet like a virus. Infecting friends and foes. Sparking controversy and debate, the video hit the tube like a freight truck. The film summarized the involvement of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) in the Ugandan region which is led by Joseph Kony. A leader who kidnaps children, and makes them fight his war; sometimes even killing their own family.

I’ve been involved with Invisible Children for around five years. In 2008, I toured on the Vans Warped Tour, living with The Color Fred, Invisible Children, and To Write Love On Her Arms (also an amazing organization). We lived in a tour bus, so when you weren’t working through the day, you were hanging out on the bus. Andrew and Alex (brothers) were representing the organization that summer and I got to know them pretty well. After tour, I kept in touch with them and tried to help out any way I could in the coming years.

In Spring of 2009, they were putting on the international event, The Rescue, I was asked by local organizers of the event in Washington, DC to help with preparations. While I was in California shortly before that, I spoke at their headquarters to give a crash course on the best way to reach each Member of Congress in a short amount of time. In my earlier days, I worked for the House of Representatives and The White House, so I knew the best ways to get a letter to the right person. With all the brainstorming that occurred, we decided over 500 personally addressed and delivered letters would be the best way. Since I was living only blocks away from the Congressional offices, two of my friends and I hand delivered each letter to each Member in Congress. If you’ve ever been in those buildings then you know what a maze it is just to find one office. We did it all in one day and celebrated with McDonald’s in Union Station.

At the event, I was in charge of the photography and documentation for that day. From Celebrities, Senators, to Fall Out Boy, the guest list was pretty stacked. Not to mention, the thousands of kids who showed up to march from the White House to the Capitol building to raise awareness for the rescue of the child soldiers in Uganda. I organized around six photographers and we didn’t stop photographing. When the rain came, we threw our cameras in bags and waited for it to stop.

Later, in the summer, Invisible Children organized yet another huge event, Lobby Days. An effort to get Congress to support The LRA Disarmament Act. When the event day came, thousands of people gathered for this event and went to their local representative’s office in DC and did their best to ask for their support. Ultimately, the bill received the signatures it needed which resulted in President Obama signing it into law. My friends from all over the United States, came to DC, and stayed in my small town house on Capitol Hill. I think we had over ten people jammed into one room. It was surreal.

While traveling on Warped Tour 2010, working for the Dear Jack Foundation and 11:11 A.M. We weren’t living with Invisible Children but still hung out and kept in touch. Following that summer, in 2011, working for the same organizations, I once again traveled on Warped Tour. This time, Invisible Children, To Write Love On Her Arms, and us, lived on the same bus. It was like the band was back together (no pun intended, well, maybe a little). The living situation was a bit iffy due to other issues on the bus but it was great we were all together again. I’ve only ever toured on Warped Tour, so really I have nothing to compare it to but I believe it is a tour unlike any other. You develop a family. A tour family (as cheesy as that sounds). And you’re there for each other. So, when I think of Invisible Children, I think of friends, families, and the memories the organization has brought me over the years.

So when Kony 2012 was released and everyone became a critic & scholar overnight, it was sort of hard to witness. An organization filled with people, friends, who want nothing but to end a war and help those affected by the LRA, were getting attacked by mainstream media and those who just learned about the cause. There is a lesson to be learned from all of this, with great success comes great scrutiny. I’m not saying Invisible Children shouldn’t be asked tough questions because questions are good. Questions spread awareness and get people interested. But in the few days it was out, people were making accusations and spreading rumors based on zero facts. I’m not here to points fingers. I’m here to tell my story and how I got involved with Invisible Children.

Which brings the idea of the shoot and the shirt. The shirt stands for everything going on in the political realm right now. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or a Democrat. What matters is that a tyrant like Joseph Kony is still out there committing atrocities. Putting party politics aside and agreeing on that is the first step to capturing him, bringing him to justice, and ending the LRA. Our government is united in this front. Party lines were crossed and agreements were made. This shirt represents that. It’s not everyday where two political parties during election season agree on issues but they have on this. Kony must go.

Kony 2012 was short, simple, basic, and to the point. That is why the film was so successful. It leaves the viewer to do their own research. You are suppose to have questions. You are suppose to not get it. That’s the point. Get involved. Learn about the war. Learn about those children who go missing. Find out who is kidnapping them. Learn who is committing these atrocities.

After that, find out who is building the radio towers to help warn villages on LRA atrocities that are occurring in the region. Learn about who is setting up scholarships & schools, lobbying in Washington, DC to get a bill passed that was signed by President Obama, and finally, do the research on who is leading efforts on rehabilitating child soldiers and those affected by the LRA.

Anyone can post a tweet, blog, or spread a rumor with one click. It’s what you do next that matters. Get involved.

Editor’s note:
Adam DeAngelis is a New York City based fashion and music photographer. We gave Adam the stage in form of our column to write and take photos of what he was passionate about.

2 Sisters 7 Sins by Antonina Dolani

That appearances can be deceiving is a well known fact, but how similar can two people be on the inside when they so obviously don’t match up on the outside? And how does this apply to twins that often share a unique connect throughout their life? These questions inspired Warsaw and London based fashion photographer Antonina Dolani when setting out to shoot her first Ben Trovato editorial.

It is a story about two twin sisters. The first one is a typical rock star, she’s strong and she’s party animal. Her sister is a good girl, quite the romantic,” Anonina explains, adding: “At the first sight they are totally different but on the inside they are similar. I wanted to show how different they could look, while knowing how similar they are.

Playing the part of the twins is fresh face Malwina at Submarine, who’s on her way to NYC after having signed with IMG recently. “She was amazing!” Antonina says. “We were working for 10 hours to produce this editorial, she was really professional which is quite unusual for a new face. I was waiting to shot this girl for couple of weeks and I am so so glad I could work with her just before she went to NYC.

The rest of the team consisted of familiar faces for Antonina, who’s worked with the whole team prior to her Ben Trovato shoot: “- Makeup and hair was made by Rafal Zurek, really talented man. I love working with him, he is really creative and professional. Styling was done by Kasia Szymanowicz who is a really sweet person and I feel like she is reading my mind at times. And of course my right hand Damian Tomaszowski who was helping me a lot during that hard day, lovely guy. I couldn’t have had better company during the shoot.

Photography by Antonina Dolani
Modelling by Malwina @ Submarine
Styling by Kasia Szymanowicz
Makeup & Hair by Rafal Zurek
Photo assistant Damian Tomaszowski
Stylist assistant Joanna Olkowska

Waiting for… by Joe Wehner

It’s a short story about a woman waiting for a man,” fashion photographer and director Joe Wehner tells us, he has just directed his first Ben Trovato film, “Waiting for…” . It was a long time coming, for six long months we have waited for the right project and the right girl to come by, and then Tantiana at Mc2 came to town.

She is new to NY and she needed a video showing her ability to be on camera, and since she has a natural body for lingerie so we just went from there,” Joe explains. “She was very easy to work with and because of her dancing background she understands the movement and the rhythm of the piece.

There were only the two of them on the set, ensuring the connection between photographer and the subject that is needed for a sensual concept and approach.

Joe’s first assisting gig was for a fashion photographer, and that’s where he was introduced to the business, but his love for cinema was what pulled him towards shooting videos. Now he’s focusing on building his skills and develop as an artist. “Hopefully I will continue shooting more complex films and telling more stories.

Film by Joe Wehner
Modelling by Tatiana Mc2

I’ll Be In Your Dream If You’ll Be In Mine by Tyler Mitchell

His name shouldn’t be too unfamiliar to the avid follower as he’s appeared twice on Ben Trovato already as Melissa Rodwell‘s assistant on her two fabulous stories for us, Wet &  The Falling. Today Tyler Mitchell is stepping into the spotlight for real, with a story that marks the beginning of a fruitful relationship between Ben Trovato and Brooklyn based fashion and lifestyle publication Relapse Magazine.

Together with Editor In Chief Ian Frisch, Tyler gathered an amazing team at the Relapse studio earlier this spring in order to create a story he’s been eager to realize for a long time. “Tyler had been talking about the concept for this photoshoot for months before it actually took flight,” Ian tells us, adding: “- And once Ise, whose past work and credentials are nothing short of stunning, showed interest in working with us on something, this seemed like the perfect opportunity for them to work as a team and come up with something that not only fuses their personal styles, but also emulates what Relapse is all about as a publication. Tyler has been a very big influence in the progression of Relapse, and I couldn’t be more happy with the outcome of our first (hopefully of many!) collaboration with Ben Trovato.

I was originally planning to do an all white story, with different little walls and things to create dimension in something that was otherwise very tonal,” Tyler says of his story. “When I started talking to Ise we decided to do light versus dark, and in that we are playing with that concept of good vs evil, right vs wrong, but without being really obvious about it. We basically put each of the girls in this world of flat surfaces and let the colors and styling take care of the mood, where the light girl is more etherial and the dark girl feels a little less innocent.

Stylist Ise White says she just started to work with young photographers again, and was excited to collaborate with Tyler: “- I have to say Tyler is one of the best. His lighting is perfect. You know when you meet someone who has “it”, Tyler has all the qualities that tell me we will see great things from him in the future.

This was my first time working with Ise, and since I met her I wanted to work with her. She is amazing beyond words, and is not only fantastic to work with and absolutely amazing at what she does, but she’s one of the chillest, nicest people to be around both on and off set, which is exactly what I want in anyone I work with,” Tyler responds to Ise’s praise, before mentioning hair stylist Tomo Tamura and makeup artist Yusuke Okitia who he was also excited to work with. “I had used Tomo for hair before and loved the control that he has, so I was definitely excited when he was open. He brought in make up artist Yusuke Okitia, who was also a pleasure to work with.

And what about the models? “Both girls were awesome! I wasn’t sure at the beginning if it was going to be one girl who was playing both sides or if I’d get two. I found Tesa at McSquared first and then met Kelsey a few days before the shoot, and she had a great energy and look so we went for it and got them both.”

Tyler has been working his way up in fashion photography for a few years now, and mentions the captivating work by Avedon, Penn and Meisel as having inspired him to pursue his own art. “As I gained more and more respect for them and started to go down that road myself, I realized there wasn’t anything else that I would be happy doing!” he tells us.

His combination of passion, skills and persistence has brought him far, and a debut on Ben Trovato is surely only a stepping stone towards something much greater for the New York based artist. At the same time Relapse Magazine, where he’s the Creative Director, serves as a fantastic outlet for him and other artists alike.

Read up on Relapse here.

Photography by Tyler Mitchell
Styling by Ise White
Hair by Tomo Tamura
Makeup by Yusuke Okitia
Models - Kelsey Close @ IMG, Tesa @ MC2

Room 1723a by Natalie J Watts

Early this spring fashion photographer Natalie J Watts made her way over the pond from London to NYC in hopes of getting inspired and doing a few amazing projects. One of them was a story for Ben Trovato.

Initially, the shoot concept came from a discussion between Michelle (makeup artist) and myself before we both jetted off individually from London to NYC. We knew that we wanted to capture the energy and mystery of the big city in a nighttime shoot,” Natalie tells us.

They discussed the story in detail and decided that the dominant figure should be a female model in a 30s/40s-style tale of secret clubs and gritty hotels.

The colors and lights of a city at night were strong reference points and I wanted this to be juxtaposed with black and dark garments. Movement and energy were to surround the models; posed very still and serene-like, almost like shadows blending into the night,” she continues.

Playing the dominant female in Room 1723a is Russian former ballerina Dinara Chetyrova at Muse, joined by male model Bradley Souileau at Red NYC.

Although having only been signed to his agency a couple of months previous, Bradley took direction really well and there was a great sense of intimacy between the models throughout the shoot. Both were extremely easy-going and thankfully didn’t mind the frequent walks back to the hotel for costume changes. Dinara - formerly a Russian ballet dancer – being the more experienced of the two took the stronger posing in the ‘together’ shots, which fitted the shoot concept perfectly.”

Natalie and makeup artist Michelle Webb knew each other well from before and have done numerous shoots together in the past. The rest of the team included stylist Ise White, hair stylist Kyra Dorman, and assistants Jermaine Clarke (photo) and Jill Freeman (makeup).

Despite being very different to (and not as easy as!) organizing a shoot in London, the team pulled together wonderfully. Michelle and I had as said worked together before, though for the rest of the team it was a new experience. Each team member took the shoot concept on board and brought their own contemporary twist to the notion of nostalgia,” Natalie explains.

We asked stylist Ise White to comment on the story: “- The choice of location was an old NYC hotel, One I had passed by often but had never been into. The old industrial paint and avocado green bed - at one point this place must have been beautiful. The only sign of it being so was the number on the door and the butler shelf on the door. Once upon a time this place was beautiful, so to use a tattooed model to go with it was appropriate and beautiful.

Natalie J Watts’ journey up the professional latter might have been a slightly more eventful and tougher one than that of the regular fashion photographer. But as most creatives, her passion came to life at an early age: “- Santa brought me my first camera for Christmas when I was 7 years old and I took a LOT of photos growing up. After having a baby at 18, I put myself through college and then University where I became involved in the Burlesque scene. I began photographing live shows and moved on to more staged shoots. Many of my models would be performers, which led to vintage and pin-up clothing companies noticing my work and asking me to shoot for them. After graduating, I moved to London and worked for for 2 years, where my personal work took more of a high fashion direction. Though much of my photography is now for commercial clients I still like to keep a darker edge to personal creative projects.

Photography by Natalie J Watts
Styling by Ise White @ Artists By Timothy Priano
Makeup by Michelle Webb using Mac Pro
Hair by Kyra Dorman @ Artists By Timothy Priano using Tigi Bed head
Photography assistant - Jermaine Clarke
Makeup assistant - Jill Freeman
Models - Dinara Chetyrova @ Muse and Bradley Souileau @ Red NYC

Lost In Reverie by Kate Edwards

Almost every time we work closely with one of our extremely talented photographers we find it intensely hard to wait with pulling the wraps off the end result. But, as we are proud of all of the work we produce and publish, there are some projects that make it up on our office wall of fame immediately. Whether it’s the end result, the process, or just how the photos make us feel. New York based photographer Kate Edwards‘ debut story for Ben Trovato is one of them.

From planning to finished story we’ve been eager to share the project with you, and today the day has come. “Lost In Reverie is about an adventure through what goes in an out of a fun and fashionable ‘daydream’,” Kate explains, adding: “- Liv (the model) is sophisticated but also in a world of her own. I like the idea of exploring a nondescript place.

Catching and projecting the mood and concept perfectly, model Liv O’Driscoll showed to be a dream to work with for the rest of the team on set: “- Liv was AWESOME! She was so energetic, and seriously the most down to earth, ready for anything kind of person. And the most astonishing thing about her is SHES A MOM! She deserves a medal for being the coolest model in the world,” Kate tells us.

The story is a product of Kate’s endless gathering of inspiration, and her obsession with colors: “- I always gather and keep piles of images and thoughts, either on my desktop or in my journal…everything and anything that I can start to form ideas from, which is basically anything that strikes my fancy at any given mood i.e. color palettes, song lyrics, poems, the way light leaks on film, etc. And I often find that a lot of my photography becomes an accumulation of everything I am inspired by all at once.

“I want colors, I want all of them, and I want it to feel like a beautiful daydream.”

In addition to Kate and Liv, the team on set consisted of stylist Souley LO, hair stylist M’Shari Whaley, and makeup artist Ana Lucca. Being Kate’s first time working with all team members - she couldn’t have been happier about their working dynamics: “- Ana, the makeup artist, came across my work a while back and after meeting we realized how many exciting ideas we had for shoots! She then introduced me to Souley and M’Shari and we decided to team up for the first time and produce this shoot. It was absolutely amazing working with each one of them. Everyone really brought the concept and story to life. Whether it was the wardrobe complementing the makeup, or the makeup complementing the environment, we all realized we spoke the same language.

Kate has always loved taking photos, and tells us she still remembers her mother giving her a camera to take a photo for the first time. That was all she needed, the girl was sold. “I still have my first photo I ever took tucked safe away in a drawer! But it wasn’t until my second year in college, while living in Michigan, that I realized I wanted to shoot fashion. What I loved most about photography was imagining something that I wanted to see and figuring out a way to take a photograph of it. I would drag all of my friends to use as subjects and with basically no knowledge of what I was doing I would problem solve until I got the results I wanted. It was so much fun! I eventually decided I wanted to try my luck in New York, and decided to finish my schooling at Parsons for photography.

“I am now 2 years graduated and working my tush off to make it as a photographer!”

Photography by Kate Edwards
Styling by Souley LO
Makeup by Ana Lucca with Lime Crime Makeup
Hair by M’Shari Whaley
Model - Liv O’Driscoll @ IMG Models

A Brooklyn Story by Lara Jade

Lara Jade has been a poster child for aspiring fashion photographers all around the world for many years. Her ability to promote her work and connect with other creatives is an inspiration for anyone looking to break through in the business. Today Lara is finally making her way on to Ben Trovato, with her first exclusive story entitled A Brooklyn Story.

The story is loosely based on a woman ‘trapped’ in an urban Brooklyn in the 1950′s and how she expresses herself through the current seasons’ clothes as she goes about her every day duties,” Lara explains. “For the story theme, I was inspired by the surrealism of Alfred Hitchcock and how he portrayed Tippi Hedren in ‘The Birds’ - her attire always elegant but always inappropriate for the settings she found herself in,” she says, adding: “- And as always - the current trends of the season. I was incredibly inspired by this seasons Spring/Summer outfits - from the colors and fun elements, to the shapes and elegance of the cuts and how past styles were mixed together into one.

The star of the story is 18-year-old Texan Caitlin Ricketts from Wilhelmina Models, who’s quickly making her way up in the business. “Caitlin was amazing and a real team player - she really got into character. It wasn’t an easy shoot - the cold weather and the mixture of the people commentating at the girl in the ‘crop top’ made it a little overwhelming (although rather funny) but she played it cool and kept her energy throughout the day!

Lara has a set few people that she tends to work with regularly, and Kim Weber (makeup) and Alexander Tome (hair) are two of those. However, it was her first time working with stylist Orsolya Szabo, Fashion Editor of ES Magazine: “- I hadn’t had the opportunity to work with Orsolya before so it was great to work with someone new also. I find working with regular and new talent together brings something new to the story because everyone has different ideas and how things should be portrayed (especially from a styling perspective) - and in this case it really worked!

Orsolya brought on a wardrobe including garments from Frankie Morello, Jason Wu, Prada, Alexander Wang, and many more.

Lara actually started of shooting when she was only fourteen, playing with self-portraiture and self disguise to hone her skills. Then at seventeen she decided to open her own local business in a small town in England, taking small commissions. “It was then that I discovered fashion photography through expanding my styling team and decided to move to London shortly after to pursue it!” she tells us.

In 2010, she decided to start the tutorial side of her business, teaching fashion photography workshops and most recently, a photo tutorial DVD with photographer Joey L. “As a photographer, I find it hard to stick to just one venture. To keep my inspiration flowing I am always thinking of new project and business ideas to expand my business and to feed inspiration and funding back into my editorial and campaign work. And I thoroughly enjoy the prospect of sharing my knowledge and experience with other photographers and encouraging them on their own journey in this tough industry!

Photography & Retouching by Lara Jade
Styling by Orsolya Szabo
Makeup by Kim Weber for Ellis Faas Cosmetics
Hair by Alexander Tome
Model - Caitlin Ricketts @ Wilhelmina Models
Photography Assistant - Fleur Hoare

Shot by Kiril Stanoev

Bulgarian fashion photographer Kiril Stanoev‘s one frame of fame. Kiril is based out of Sofia, where this frame was taken.

The model is 22 year old Bulgarian Liliana Stanailova, and the photo is a part of from Kiril’s personal project entitled Angels. It was shot at Vrana Palace, which is the former palace of the Bulgarian king. The project is inspired by Peter Lindbergh’s classic editorial for Harper’s Bazaar in 1993 featuring Amber Valetta in angel wings.

Late Stay by Maximilian Rivera

Maximilian Rivera started out shooting fashion shows, but after a trip to Paris and Barcelona last summer the Miami based photographer fell for more traditional fashion photography. “- I worked with an agency model and an incredible French team. There was a big language barrier but it was a good learning experience,” he tells us, adding: “- After that shoot, I was immediately hooked and knew I wanted to become a fashion photographer. So now I mostly travel between Miami and New York and will soon make trips to Los Angeles and then back to Europe.

As many other arising fashion photographers, Maximilian had a goal of getting published on Ben Trovato, and with his story Late Stay that goal is today reached. The editorial features the striking beauty that is Danielle King from MC2 Miami strolling around a retro Miami hotel, “- Blending in and feeling comfortable within the scenery but also standing out. Her beauty serving as both a contrast and compliment to her gorgeous surroundings,” Maximilian explains.

What inspired Maximilian’s approach was his fascination for old black and while advertisements: “- They are classic timeless images which draw you in and tell a story.

Danielle is a “breeze to work with and since we’ve gotten back such amazing feedback,” he tells us when asked about the gorgeous star of Late Stay. “We’ve actually worked together more than once. I love her portfolio. It’s very versatile which is what originally caught my eye.”

Joining Maximilian and Danielle was Deedee Kazandjian, who did the hair and makeup, and styled the shoot using a lot of amazing pieces from Mika Couture. Assistant on the set was Don Cunanan.

Photography by Maximilian Rivera
Fashion styling by Mika Couture & Deedee Kazandjian
Makeup & Hair by Deedee Kazandjian
Model – Danielle King @ MC2 Miami
Assistant – Don Cunanan