Interview: It’s Been A Ben Trovato Year.
by Daniel Haim
2011 was a year of growth for Ben Trovato. The level of ambition back when their calendar read January 2011 was sky high, yet the team has exceeded all expectations, and we can safely say it has been a Ben Trovato year. They have gone from being a niche blog, to being the publication millions of fashion and photography blessed individuals worldwide turn to for inspiration and talent. We say publication because the word blog is merely there to describe how they organize they published content.
Daniel: It’s safe to say 2011 has been the year that Ben Trovato took shape and turned into a real leader in the overcrowded industry. Many do not realize, but all of the content featured on Ben Trovato is literally, Ben Trovato’s content, 100% unique, 100% bespoke, featuring new talents. Has this been the intention since day one – and what do you think this will transform to?
Marius: I don’t think I dared to think that big when I launched Ben Trovato in 2009, it was certainly not expected. But as we were evolving into the publication we now are, it was clear that the only right way to go was to only publish 100% exclusive material. We have worked hard to shake the blog association off, and expect to be respected as a publication in the same way as any other online magazine. Only we have a greater following than most online fashion magazines, and photographers and filmmakers shooting for us get huge amounts of attention in the business by doing so. I still get contacted by photographers saying they would love to shoot something for us, but they don’t know if their team would be in on it as they would only do published work. And since we’ve got ‘blog’ in our title, it’s not as prestigious. Then they go shoot for a tiny online fashion magazine published in a flash format. They have completely misunderstood what a true online magazine should be like.
Daniel: There are plenty of photographers out there, and in your recent article speaking about the history of photography and whether knowing the history of the trade is necessary in today’s industry for a young talent. Knowing Ben Trovato showcases mainly new talents, upcoming talents, do you think this will change?
Marius: Well, history is only as far as we can remember back in time. And as we move forward and new generations emerge, I think their references and idols will be different from what mine or yours were. As a photographer friend of mine – Mark Lanning – discussed after my article: History matters more than the historians. Photographers may not have looked up the pioneers of the trade before they started shooting, but the photographs they’ve seen influence their work going all the way back to the Penns, Avedons, Steichens, et. al. The two, history and the photographer, can be separate, but they are not ignorant of each other.
Daniel: What are the plans of expansions, where do you see Ben Trovato going in 2012? Is the focus Cinematography?
Marius: We will definitely focus more on fashion film as it is an exciting genre growing extremely fast. We headlined the Belgian fashion film festival Fashion/Off together with Peter Lindbergh and Ellen von Unwerth earlier this year, and already we are working with events in 2012 to help promote the genre even better. As we move further into 2012 we should also be seeing one or two very exciting expansions of Ben Trovato. I don’t want to reveal anything yet.
Daniel: As you mentioned, Ben Trovato recently participated in a festival alongside to Ellen Von Unwerth, needless to say, one of the biggest names in the photography world – what do you attribute your success to?
Marius: Ben Trovato was launched with the mission of promoting the arising artists in the business, and that’s something we have stayed true to. We are different from any other blog out there just reposting fashion photography shot for Vogue or Elle, we provide the stage for the up-and-coming, which is something this business really needs. And by doing so, we have gained a lot of respect by the professionals in the business, as well as thousands of valuable connections. In addition to this we are constantly enhancing the user experience on Ben Trovato -we are committed to giving our readers the best fashion photography and film experience on the web.
Daniel: Any recommendations for a photographer who aspires to one day be featured on Ben Trovato?
Marius: Shoot a lot, dream a lot, and pull yourself up from the gutter again when life’s shit and you feel like no one recognizes your work. Repeat until eternity. Oh, and don’t be a stranger, stay connected.
Daniel: What is Ben Trovato’s New Years Resolution?
Marius: Be even better at promoting amazing talent, grow even bigger so that we can do the former, and hopefully open an office where young artists can walk in and get guidance and advice.
Daniel: What are your personal hopes and aspirations for Ben Trovato for 2012?
Marius: I really hope we can keep growing at the same pace as we did in 2011, it really has been an amazing year for us. I hope we can do even more fashion film work, and that we can expand our service to reach even more followers.