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Minseo model new york city nyfw
Photography Jack Newton

These photos document the journey of an up-and-coming model in NYC

Shot during New York Fashion Week, the photo series and short film uncovers the day-to-day of an aspiring Korean-American model’s life

Few professions require being photographed as much as being a model. Yet, despite how much of their working lives are spent in front of a camera, it is rare for them to be captured as simply themselves, with no story or character to portray, and no professional makeup and styling. In Minseo, a new photo series by photographer Jack Newton and short film (previewed on NOWNESS ASIA) by filmmaker Emily May Jampel, the camera is directed purely at a model’s personal life, following up-and-coming Korean-American model Minseo Angelica Kim as she navigates the fickle world of the modelling industry in 2024.

New York-based Newton originally came up with the idea after photographing models during fashion week. “I was photographing backstage at this runway show and I realised that I was mostly interested in the in-between moments. I figured we probably had enough photographers shooting the shows, so I wanted to see what it’s like for models when they’re not on set,” explained Newton. “I reached out to Emily because I’d seen her film Lucky Fish and felt like we shared an appreciation for a quieter approach. After discussing the project, we realised that we also have similar feelings about the modelling industry.”

Jampel, who has also worked as a model in the past, wanted to capture a more intimate perspective of modelling life. “I immediately thought of films like Frances Ha, The Assistant and Personal Shopper – films about young women and working professionals living in big cities, and the loneliness and mundanity of that experience, and loved the idea of capturing a profession like modelling from that perspective,” she explains. To find their muse, Jampel approached casting from what she described as an “instinctive place”. After Minseo caught her eye at a casting she attended as a model herself, Jampel introduced her to Newton and together they decided she would be the project’s muse. “Minseo has this innate ability to be confident while also vulnerable,” explains Newton. “Those qualities are important to me and something I look for when casting projects.”

Newton – who, as the child of a model and fashion photographer, describes his time on set as akin to daycare – tapped into his mother’s experiences as a model when capturing Minseo. “My mom often felt like the photographs did not always reflect who she was as a person,” he explains. “She taught me the importance of creating space for people to bring their own experiences into shoots.” Channelling those lessons, Newton’s photos shine a light on Minseo’s inner world, highlighting the moments that usually go unnoticed but likely take up most of a model’s time – including taking the subway to and from jobs, waiting around on set and getting ready for castings. 

In the film, Minseo, who recently graduated from university with a degree in psychology, discusses taking a leap of faith and moving to New York City to pursue an uncertain career. For Jampel, it was important to capture the small moments where someone is at a “critical juncture” in their personal life and career. “This film is as much about modelling as it is about capturing the life of a young person after graduation who is trying to figure themselves out,” Jampel explains. As someone who recently decided to quit her full-time job to dedicate all her time to filmmaking, Minseo’s journey of navigating contradictions was one she understood and related to. “I really connected with being at this crossroads,” she says, “and deciding between a more structured, familiar career path or this more unconventional, unstable, and at times incredibly frustrating career path of modelling, which feels simultaneously scary but also new, exciting and filled with possibility.” Together with the images by Newton, the mini-film studies the tenderness of these transitional periods, offering nuance that your average ‘day in the life of a model’ videos do not. 

Watch the film below and head to the gallery above to see the images.

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