Monday, April 29, 2013

Philadelphia Street Style: Arthur, Walnut St

Friday, April 26, 2013

Philadelphia Street Style: Tad, Walnut St

Tad is a musician who busks in Center City. She gave me great tips about where the best places to busk are and when, but I'm not going to tell you them, because that would constitute insider information, and you might just take your guitar and go out and compete against her.

I dig how DIY her look is, everything customized, everything scrawled upon. The "Hell Yeah!" on her guitar says it all.

By the way, I said a couple of posts ago that I would start asking people what they're wearing again. I will, don't worry, but I've got a back log of a couple of weeks' worth of images to post before the effects of that new policy are visible on this site. I happen to know, however, what Tad is wearing: awesomeness.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

New York Street Style: Outside Milk Studios, 15th St

Here are a couple of street style shots I snapped at New York Fashion Week but never had a chance to post. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Philadelphia Street Style: Harry, Sansom St

I have no idea how to describe Harry's look, and I'm not even going to try. But I like its brash simplicity, and I like its failure to coalesce into any one singular style.  

I haven't been asking people what they're wearing lately. Mainly because it has just never felt natural for me to do so. I don't particularly care about brands and don't really want to be implicated in anyone's online guerrilla marketing strategy. I always felt kinda cheap and dirty listing the brands people were wearing, even when the express purpose was research-driven. Plus, I want these pictures to be about the people wearing clothes, rather than the clothes themselves. But I'm beginning to think it's time to start paying attention to it again, in part because a number of my readers have told me they appreciate it when I do, and in part for what it can tell me about the relationship between what people wear and who they are. It's time for me to start paying attention to the specifics of what people wear, the subtle distinctions and differences.  After all, it's not enough to say that Harry is wearing a baseball cap. He's wearing a baseball cap that says "Rub it easy, make it hard." 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Philadelphia Street Style: Kim, Walnut St

Friday, April 19, 2013

Philadelphia Street Style: James, Walnut St

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Philadelphia Street Style: Shabre', Rittenhouse Square

Monday, April 15, 2013

Philadelphia Street Style: Myke, Walnut St

Today was Myke's day off. Can't you tell? After all, he's not wearing socks. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Philadelphia Street Style: Amy, Rittenhouse Square

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Philadelphia Street Style: Aldo, 19th St

Caught Aldo and his custom bike on a Sunday, while my family and I were headed to lunch before hitting up free day at the Barnes Foundation. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Philadelphia Street Style: Big Rube Harley, Walnut St

Reuben "Big Rube" Harley is Philadelphia's best-known street style photographer and a regular fixture on the streets of Center City. He's been on this blog a couple of times before, and I can't think of anyone who more embodies Philly style. Here he is at work on Walnut St., trusty Schwinn at his side, Canon camera strapped to his chest. We run into each other occasionally when out shooting. I always find it fascinating to compare his style of shooting to my own. He has a much more democratic take on style, shoots way more pics than I do of a much broader range of people. He also does more snapshots and action shots. I, on the other hand, seem to take fewer and fewer pictures these days, trying to be more and more selective about who I choose. I want edge and grit mixed with just a touch of glamour. And I only do "straights up" with my subjects posing quite deliberately for me. Sure it's staged, in the sense that I intervene in whatever my subjects were doing. But does that make it any less real?

You can check out his photos on his blog, Street Gazing, or in his column in the Philadelphia Daily News. Or read my interview with Big Rube here

Friday, April 5, 2013

Philadelphia Street Style: Dominique, Sansom St

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Philadelphia Street Style: Richie, Sansom St

How do you recognize that someone is stylish? Is it an objective characteristic, observable by a diverse audience? Or it is a purely subjective characterization, assigned by the onlooker? Is street style a catalog of a city's diverse looks, or a highly selective representation, based on the individual tastes and idiosyncrasies of a specific photographer? And if it is the latter - and, let's face it, it almost certainly is - how does a photographer even know who fits their tastes and idiosyncrasies? What does it mean for a photographer to isolate an individual as someone who represents who they are as a photographer? 

Those were questions on my mind while out shooting on Monday. I hadn't been out in a while. I've had conferences to attend and papers to write. And I found myself over-thinking who belongs on Urban Fieldnotes and who doesn't. Over-thinking, any street style photographer will tell you, is the kiss of death. You miss shots. You second-guess yourself. You get frozen with indecision. Style radars work best on instinct. You have to let your mind go and let them do their thing.

But when they are doing their thing effectively, what exactly are they doing? Are they calculating all sorts of aspects of who a person is below our conscious attention? Are they weighing the relative risk involved with approaching a person? Are they picking up on all sorts of subtle bodily cues about what kind of person stands before us? Or are they operating with far less logic than that, seeking out some palpable but ineffable quality that connects a photographer with their subject in some indescribable way? I don't know. But every street style photographer I've talked to has told me they know who they want to shoot in an instant. It takes, they claim, only a fraction of a second. Knowing someone is stylish in just the right way is experienced as an immediate sensation. 

So what is it about Richie that led me to pick him out on Monday, after two hours of wandering around Center City, trying to talk myself into shooting various people? I can't say for sure. I know I wanted some edge back in my shots. I know I tend to be drawn to tattoos. I know I liked his patchwork tanktop and caesar haircut. But I didn't calculate any of those things. It took two hours, but I finally — more or less — let my mind go, and this is who my style radar picked out when I did. Is he Urban Fieldnotes material? Well, all I can tell you is that he is today. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

New York Street Style: Blue Suit with Denim Jacket, Outside Lincoln Center

Who is this guy? He looks familiar, and I feel like I'm supposed to know. Plus, he was out at Lincoln Center hanging with some of the heavy hitter bloggers, so I'm guessing he's one of those dudes. In any case, I dig the look. But I'm pretty sure I couldn't pull it off myself. Maybe that's the mark of a genuine sense of style: when other people look ridiculous trying to wear what you wear.

Update: Chaucee of Streets and Stripes has just let me know that he's Steven Onoja of Ostentation and Style. The collective intelligence of this whole Internet thing comes through again!