If nice guys finish last, Manny Roman is the exception to the rule. The Miami-born, New York City–based photographer is feted as a world-class portrait photographer, but you'd never guess it based on his humility and honesty. And those attributes are exactly what's led to his success. As he describes his method, "I approach the model with my truest self and express that, to me, they are beautiful just as they are and their essence is what I want to capture."
As a child, Roman was fascinated by cameras, and after some practice shoots with his older sister, he approached local South Beach modeling agencies in search of work. Soon, he'd established himself in the industry as the go-to photog for portraits and high-style projects.
Roman is candid about what drew him to his subject matter: "Women. They have always been my inspiration, from the classic beauty of Lauren Bacall to the sultry appeal of Brigitte Bardot and Sophia Loren. I've always admired the way women move, laugh, and flip their hair."
While his work is diverse, his portraits stand out for their stark austerity. "I used to think the simplicity aspect was easy, but it isn't," he says. "Many times it's easier for models to hide behind the makeup and clothes, but once you ask them to be shot with no makeup, it's as if they feel naked."
Getting a model to a place of comfort is paramount. "The most challenging part is getting my subjects to a vulnerable point. If they do not trust you then it's hard to achieve that memorable moment I aim to capture, which is the magic in my portraits. It comes down to trust and a mutual understanding of what my subject and I want to achieve."
See more of Manny Roman sublime work from his hottest Instagram shots, below.