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trinity ellis model photos ny fashion week aw18 Aaliyah hyde
Aaliyah Hydes @ MusePhotography Trinity Ellis

Photographing models during their downtime at New York Fashion Week

Trinity Ellis shot a series of girls in-between shows this season

When it comes to fashion week (or rather, fashion month), the overwhelming amount there is to take in can often feel like a full-blown attack on the senses. Last season alone saw models carrying their own heads(!), snakes and baby dragons, mountains and forests erected within showspaces, and drones, robots, and puppies make their way down runways around the world: and that’s before we even start on the clothes themselves.

Despite the sheer volume of spectacles on display, it’s often the more subtle moments that become the most memorable – as with photographer Trinity Ellis’s candid model shots, captured at his borrowed apartment in-between shows during NYFW. “I hung out inside just reading and smoking for most of the time I was there because it was so cold,” he tells us. “Chloè Rosolek is a casting director from London and would send girls over to my place to shoot.”  

Captured entirely on film, the analogue images have a raw yet soft quality – “something that would never be picked up without printing, film is made to be printed” – and demonstrate the nuances of each model’s individuality. Ellis credits this to the relaxed atmosphere he created when taking the shots.

“With this project, I just wanted the models to be themselves – I really didn’t want to try to create something that wasn’t there,” he explains. On the books at agencies including Muse, Elite, and The Society, the models range from those just starting out in their careers – including Naomi Janumala, for whom AW18 was her first season, and Irene Guarenas and Maryel Sousa, who were walking in shows for the second time – to others like Blesnya Minher, who walked for the likes of Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton, and Off-White this season, and London-based Aaliyah Hydes, who appeared at Miu Miu, Ashley Williams, and as part of Christopher Bailey’s final Burberry show in February.

It made for a varied line-up full of personality. “Some of the girls were more reserved and quiet, so instead of coaxing something out of them, I just made sure they were comfortable and then took their photo. Others were more confident and outgoing, which is reflected in the shots I think. Their unique characteristics all really come through.”

Making sure the shots felt natural was one of the most important things for Ellis, who is entirely self-taught. “I hear a lot of people asking for images that look like a ‘caught moment’ which I think can feel really forced if they’re not genuine,” he says. “But on the other hand I appreciate the preparation that can go into creating a ‘great’ image, like when the old masters used to meticulously plan shots, drawing up sketches beforehand and so on. I think some of that is lost today.”

Also high on the London-based photographer’s agenda is making sure he captures a wide range of subjects. “I hope this series captures the diversity of the models,” he says. “I was so happy to see a range of different girls turn up to the hotel: some black, some white, confident, shy, tall, short… It’s so important to spread a message of inclusivity in 2018.”