L'Officiel Art

How Model and Photographer Ethan James Green Challenges Industry Norms

His first monograph, Young New York, uses black-and-white portraits to highlight a diverse range of up and coming talent.
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Ethan James Green is using his camera as a tool to break down beauty norms. He photographs marginalized communities in order to bring attention to individuals who are underrepresented in the fashion industry. In April, the photographer and model will release his first monograph titled Young New York. The book is a compilation of black-and-white portraits of his close friends and will be published through Aperture, a nonprofit organization that connects the public with inspiring works.

A native of Michigan, Green moved to New York in 1990 to pursue a modeling career. Through his tenure as a model, he has worked with several publications and has shot with labels such as Prada, Miu Miu, and Alexander McQueen. The multihyphenate's long-term affiliation with the fashion industry inspired him to use his talents to showcase a new group that is redefining beauty norms.

ETHAN JAMES GREEN, AMANDA AND MATTIE, 2016; FROM YOUNG NEW YORK (APERTURE 2019) © ETHAN JAMES GREEN

“In Ethan’s world, the kids who inspire him ought to be [and are] the subjects of his work. Ethan is an artist among so-called image makers,” said transgender model and actress Hari Nef, who was first photographed by Green in 2014 but has since become a close friend. 

ETHAN JAMES GREEN, DARA, 2017; YOUNG NEW YORK (APERTURE 2019) © ETHAN JAMES GREEN

It took around three years to finish taking photos, which were mostly taken in the Lower East Side’s Corlears Hook Park. But Green was doing more than just taking pictures during that time. He took advice from his late mentor, prominent New York photographer David Armstrong, to forge an authentic, raw connection with the subjects he was photographing.

ETHAN JAMES GREEN, TORRAINE, 2015; FROM YOUNG NEW YORK (APERTURE 2019) © ETHAN JAMES GREEN

Green's new collection features close-up images of his subjects posed in unusual and striking positions. He highlights New York’s millennial scene, a diverse group of queer youth, nightlife celebrities, and gender-nonbinary individuals who are challenging societal norms in beautiful and provocative ways. 

The square-shaped book has a dark green cover featuring a striking 2015 photograph of his friend Marcs, and the project includes a foreword co-written by Nef and Michael Shulman. Green’s masterpiece will be available for individual purchase soon.

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