These aspiring models have flown in from all over the world to Paris, the ogre city, where the quest for beauty feeds on new faces. Soon, these uprooted girls will be transformed into sophisticated creatures of universal glamour. Stéphane Coutelle, the renowned beauty photographer, will be one of the architects of this transformation. But by receiving them in the Shoebox Studio during the first days of their Parisian stay for a brief session, unencumbered by any strict production objectives, Coutelle pays tribute to their identity and their peculiarity, both perhaps even more short-lived than their youth. This first meeting aims to capture a psychology, a past, before professional reflexes can take hold, before any complicity is established. The artist acts here without preconceived ideas, open to everything. The situation is not the conventional one of the artist and his model. The girls’ looks carry questioning, expectations, but determination as well. They know their fate will unwind behind the closed doors of shooting sessions, and that there will be little time to learn the rules of the game …Coutelle’s portraits sometimes trouble us. We could attribute this disconcertment to a kind of harshness or voyeurism on behalf of the photographer. But in reality, these images express a certain solidarity; it is not Coutelle himself who is unrelenting, but the world in which both the artist and his model evolve. Shoebox Studio is a major project because the portraits lead us from a private, individual psychology to the contemporary human condition in which the need to be seen and recognized has become a global quest, a social phenomenon.