Watch: Meet Benjamin, the Hunky Model Featured in Gender-Bending Photo Book

Sunday October 3, 2021
Originally published on September 21, 2021

A new book and photo exhibit spotlights the copasetic relationship between photographer Marc Martin and Benjamin, his unique model. Their collaboration — "Beau Menteur" — is both a book and photo exhibit that runs in Paris through October 10.

"Handsome Liar," as the book and exhibit is called in English, push the boundaries of masculinity through Benjamin's phantasmagorical and very cinematographic universe that's filled with "many cultural references and a beautiful diversity," writes the French website TÊTU. Benjamin, the website adds, "embodies all the men in your life (in him together)."

Martin met Benjamin through a mutual friend. "An arranged marriage," laughed Benjamin, who comes from Angevin before coming to Paris where he worked as a drag queen. "...when I arrived in Paris, I discovered cabaret which gave me even more desires. I wanted to go beyond cross-dressing, on the drag-queen side with a new dynamic by working on the very visual man / woman side, on the sensations. using my masculine side in performances, without it being unhealthy, nor seen as superior to the feminine side."†

His drag persona is intensely masculine sometimes, intensely feminine at others. He mixes it up with humor, fashion and sensuality. And with his full lips, tightly cropped hair and sexy stare, he resembles the young Tom Hardy.

After their first photo session in a bathroom, Martin and Benjamin decided they had a narrative to tell. "I understood that there was a story to tell, I saw its possibilities. It was a kind of test and it launched the†Beau†project†Liar†. After we had a lot of fun going from the very feminine side to the very masculine side of Benjamin†.†We looked for each other and we found common ground, after we had to tell the story."

"The work was organized jointly between photographer and model, each shoot being thought of as a little story, a universe which married, in a fairly natural way, the memories and desires of the two artists, even if it meant making a mistake and trying something else like this, TÊTU. "Explains Benjamin:†'I†knew what I didn't want to do but I was open to the rest. I quickly understood that Marc respected me, that he never put me in an uncomfortable position so I let go in all confidence. If we liked it, we kept, otherwise we threw, which was quite comfortable. We did not have a duty to do something successful, we did above all something to have fun. has often agreed!"

The photographer also joked on how the nature of suggestive work has changed over the years. "In my time, we would look for sexuality, everywhere, in locker rooms, swimming pools, toilets, today it is everywhere, and suddenly, it is not is seen only as pornography.†Beau Menteur†, it is my most personal project whereas it only shows Benjamin!"

Follow this link to see a more graphic video of Benjamin.

Follow this link, to order the book.