The Man Behind The Camera – Frank Horvat

In October of 1979, I went on a “go-see” for a magazine named Jours De France. Upon arrival, I was ushered into a room with a wall of windows and sunlight streaming through. A rack of clothes was in the center of the room, and models were in various states of undress as the stylist handed them designer clothes to try on. I was introduced to Frank Horvat, the photographer. Frank sat in a chair silently watching the commotion. I stood waiting for directions.

“You,” Frank said pointing at me, “try on something.”

The stylist handed me a pink dress and I slid it down over my head.

“Turn around.” Frank ordered.

I did as I was told.

“She’s the one.” He told the stylist. His eyes lit up when he smiled.

I showed up on the appointed day – along with two other models, and a full crew of hair stylist, make-up artists, and fashion coordinators. They loaded us up in an RV and drove the 12 miles to Versailles. On the second day, we went to a chateau in the French countryside. The settings were perfect, the clothes exquisite, and Frank, the photographer, was patient, kind, and encouraging. For those two days, I felt truly beautiful. That perfect feeling was preserved in the photographs.

Looking back, I was a gangly teen on her first professional modeling job. I had no idea I was working with the world-renowned photographer, Frank Horvat. His work had appeared in Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. When I look at his blog and his lifetime collection of images – I so admire his gift and wish I had paid more attention to the man behind the camera.

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Tonya Ruiz

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