Whitney Hayes photographs Cooper at Wilhelmina Models in this motel inspired editorial. Imagine yourself trapped in a place you quite like to be in, but at the same time want to get out from. 'Cause maybe youth is just that, sometimes trapped in a safe space, wanting to be freed from its confinement.
A neon motel sign glows in the night. Its vivid magenta fills an empty car park and dances with the midnight fog. Sounds from different worlds clash in the darkness – the hoot of an owl and the snuffle of a fox playing over the constant electric hum of an industrial kitchen. As you stand on the asphalt, there’s not a person in sight. But inside this plastic-clad low-rise motel, there’s a boy called Cooper Koch.
Nobody knows just how long Cooper has been here, but he knows this building like the back of his hand. He’s keeping himself entertained with a stream of random thoughts, in an attempt to avoid a spiral of boredom, but photographer Whitney Hayes captures the frustration that this brings in his eyes. It’s like he can’t settle. Like he’s constantly searching for something new as his setting changes with every shot. It seems he wants to leave this place, but there’s something holding him within its pastel walls.
Cooper moves through Michael Rosenberg’s styling, creating a new character for himself as he changes from Calvin Klein to Libertine. There’s a vintage American spirit in the rockabilly style, which is topped with an iconic 50s-style quiff from Tsuyoshi Harada. Everything comes together to tell the tale of a playful young man, trapped in a mundane place with nothing but his imagination. A young man with a great mind, and he’s ready to break free from this motel. If he can just find a way to get out.