Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bandung Street Style: Rinanta and Rininta, Paris Van Java

This darling duo managed to have the most improbable, and impossibly cute, combination of names: Rinanta and Rininta. Rinanta's scarf is by Hermès, but everything else she's wearing is unbranded. Rininta's scarf, on the other hand is unbranded, while everything else she is wearing is Mango

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bandung Street Style: Firmansyah, Jl Trunojoyo

Firmansyah is an employee for Began, an indie clothing company in Bandung. His clothes, minus the pair of Adidas, are all from Began as well. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Bandung Street Style: Ali, Jl. Trunojoyo

Bandung is the kind of town where people know how to make stuff, especially when it comes to clothes. Ali made this pair of chinos himself. His T-shirt, on the other hand, is KizaruThe shoes are Vans. The cap is from local brand Oink!, for whom Ali works. This is the complex on Jl Trunojoyo where their store is located.  

Friday, January 25, 2013

Bandung Street Style: Ghea, Ai, and Gendis

I could see Ghea, Ai, and Gendis eyeing me for some time before finally coming up to me and asking me to take a picture with them. I then returned the favor. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Bandung Street Style: Rudi, Bandung Indah Plaza

I've always been fascinated by the influence of East L.A. on Bandung style. There's a generation of punks here, now in their thirties, that seem to have to borrowed their look wholesale from Chicano hardcore bands like Suicidal Tendencies sometime in the early 1990s and have stuck steadfastly to it. I like the look. It feels familiar, and as a displaced Californian, rather homey. It reads much better to me than the crusty gutter punks that line the roadways here, hurling insults at passing motorists and calling out "Hello, Misterrrrrrr!" with the "r"s rolled all the way to Jakarta at bule (that is, white people) like me. Plus, I think Rudi, a representative of Hope Fast Hope, a local tattoo and apparel company, pulls it off well, injecting a bit of "American heritage" into it. I met him at "Clothing Wear - Lifestyle Independent Clothing 2013" a showcase of local indie brands set up in front of Bandung Indah Plaza, one of Bandung's oldest malls. Among the other local brands on display were Smith, Began, Flo, gee eight, Origin, and Reclays Afterlife. Rudi's sleeveless shirt is by long-time Indonesian brand Black ID. Rudi asked me to include a photo that showed the sign for the event above him. So I have. Too band the "IN" in "independent" got cut off. I wonder if that was something of a Freudian slip on my part. Lord knows I've written enough on the ambiguity and contradictoriness of the independence of "indie."

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bandung Street Style: Siro, Paris Van Java

Bandung is about a two-hour drive or three-hour train ride from Jakarta. It's at a higher altitude than the capital city and is usually a few degrees cooler. It's also cooler in the other sense of the word, with a reputation as something like the San Francisco or Portland of Indonesia. Bandung is home to some of the most prestigious universities in the country, and feels a bit like a college town. It's also the center of the indie music and fashion scenes, with more hipsters per square mile than anywhere else in Indonesia. That said, it has nothing on Portland in that regard. They still constitute a small minority. But Bandung no doubt boasts more metalheads and gutter punks than even the Pacific Northwest can muster. In the Dutch colonial days (lasting from roughly the 15th Century to 1942), Bandung was known as "Paris Van Java," or the Paris of Java, for its lush gardens and European architecture. These days, that comparison is a bit of a stretch. The European architecture is still there, but its competes with ramshackle huts with tin roofs, plastic tarp food stalls (angkringan), and gaudy new construction factory outlets of various fashion brands made in the city. Bandung is ground zero for outsourced garment manufacturing in Indonesia. Ralph Lauren has stuff made here, as does Hugo Boss, and The Gap. Chances are, you have something made here too. It is this garment-manufacturing infrastructure that has made Bandung the nation's hotspot for new and exciting local clothing brands. I'll be featuring some of them in the coming week or two.

I took these shots of Siro at the "Paris Van Java" shopping center in the Sukajadi neighborhood of Bandung. It's a California-style outdoor mall, replete with fake Parisian buildings. This is NOT what most of Bandung looks like. It's more of a hyper-real monument to what Bandung residents imagine it used to be. 

I love the way Siro combines Muslim modesty with an urban edge in these shots. She had no idea (or interest) in what brands she was wearing, but she clearly knows how to pull a look together.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Jakarta Street Scenes

I left Jakarta in the midst of the worst flood the city has seen since 2007. Rivers overflowed. Barriers broke. Motorists waded through several feet of water to escape the gridlocked traffic on major streets. Two dozen Jakartans have now died from drowning or electrocution. I was never in any danger, but still felt like I had managed to get out under the wire, after being stuck in a cab for two hours on the way to the train station — which turned out to be closed anyway. I ended up taking a shuttle from a travel bureau. In Indonesia, there is always a back door. You just have to know where to look for it. 

Here are some pictures from happier times in the capital city. Stay-tuned for shots from Bandung, the indie fashion capital of Indonesia. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Jakarta Style Blogger Profile: Putri Soe

Jakarta has a thriving personal style blogger scene. Local semi-celebrities like Diana Rikasari, Indonesia's number one most popular blogger overall, and Evita Nuh, a 13-year-old wunderkind who is frequently compared to Tavi Gevinson, have brought style blogging to a broad swath of Indonesia's middle-class. Their blogs are in English. Their tone is cute and quirky, with almost no detectable snark. People eat it up. I have, however, had a difficult time finding any street style bloggers here. Most likely this is for the obvious reasons I've already mentioned; it is simply very difficult to shoot style on the streets of Jakarta. And mall shots, as you've probably already noticed from my posts these last two weeks, just don't quite amount to the same thing. Fortunately, in a feverish Google search a week or so back, I came across Jakarta Style Journal, Putri ("Putche") Soe's photo chronicle of Jakarta's indie fashion scene. It's street style, but more in the vein of Jak and Jil or STREETFSN than The Sartorialist or Hel Looks. Putri prefers shooting candids at local fashion events over combing the streets. It's simply more productive. People actually get dressed up to go out to them. Otherwise, fashion here is just too difficult. There's the issue of the humidity and the issue of transport, the most common form of which is the motorbike, not the most fashion-friendly of vehicles. Try keeping your pants pressed and hair intact on one! In any case, Putri and I met up at the Tator Cafe at Grand Indonesia shopping town last week to compare notes on blogging and talk shop. We had a lovely conversation, despite distraction from a rat running across the floor and climbing the wall. Ah, Jakarta! Here is a brief profile of her and her impressions of the local fashion scene.

Name: Putri Soe
Blogs: Jakarta Style Journal, Supernice
Age: 20
Hometown: East Jakarta
Day Job: Student at the University of Indonesia (Media Studies)
Fashion Inspirations: Pinterest, Jak and Jil
Blogger Inspirations: Evita Nuh, Diana Rikasari, Sonia Eryka, June Paski 
How She Describes Her Own Style: Experimental and simple. Consists of many different things and moods.
What She's Listening to These Days: Blink 182, Rhianna, Nicki Minaj, "everything but jazz," or, apparently, Indonesian music. She tends to find it syrupy and sentimental.
What Inspired Her to Start Her Blogs: She's always enjoyed writing and photography, and with a blog, you can publish your stuff in seconds. She's also blogging to build a portfolio of her work, build a name for herself, and something of a personal brand. Plus, she sees blogging as an opportunity to get feedback from a supportive community, so that she can get better at all of those things.
What She Sees Going on in Indonesian Fashion: More and more people are getting interested, and Indonesian fashion is evolving rapidly, in part because of government support, prominent international events like Jakarta Fashion WeekIndonesia Fashion Week, and Next Level, and promotional groups like The independent (or "indie") fashion scene is particularly big at the moment. To learn more about it, read my book DIY Style.
Favorite Indonesian Brands: NikicoDanjyo Hiyoji, and Cotton Ink.
Her Own Brand: Spend enough time hanging out with Indonesian indie kids and fashionistas and it starts to seem like everyone's got their own brand these days. Putri's is called Blancteria, and she describes as "casual ready-to-wear for women." Putri designs the clothes and brings them to a local tailor, the same on who does the work of famous Indonesian couturier Sebastian Gunawan, to execute. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Jakarta Street Style: Zikra, Plaza Senayan

I met Zikra at the Plaza Senayan, one of Jakarta's most upscale malls. Its patrons, perhaps needless to say, have a somewhat different (read, more upmarket) fashion sensibility than the other spots I've shot at so far. Still, they maintain the bold, colorful aesthetic so common in this city. Zikra is wearing a scarf by Hermès, pants by Max Mara, and shoes by Azteca. The bag, of course, is Chanel

Friday, January 18, 2013

Jakarta Street Style: Cindy, Outside Aksara Books, Jl Kemang Raya

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Jakarta Street Style: Lea, Jl Kemang Raya

Lea is an art director based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and does a lot of work for Malaysian television. I caught her on a shopping expedition in Kemang, arguably Jakarta's hippest neighborhood. She's wearing a dress by H&M, a bag by Marc Jacobs, a pair of Doc Martens boots, and a scarf she picked up in a market in Bombay. For the record, this is not a Muslim headscarf, or jilbab as they're called here, like those worn by the last two women I photographed. She just happened to be wearing it to protect her hair from the rain. It's the rainy season here. And it rains a lot. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Jakarta Street Style: Ragil, Mal Pondok Indah

Ragil works at the Lee Cooper store in the Pondok Indah Mall. He is, unsurprisingly, dressed head to toe in Lee Cooper. His co-workers were busting up during this whole shoot. These are two of a very few shots I got where he wasn't laughing himself. As a street style blogger, I'm not used to being quite such a novelty. But as an anthropologist in Indonesia, well, I guess I am. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Jakarta Street Style: Dicka, Mal Pondok Indah

Dicka described her style to me as "Apa aja yang ada di lemari" (whatever is in my closet). Not an unusual answer to that question. And yet it still seems worth remarking on that this is what she has lying around her closet. I love the incorporation of tie-dye into busana Muslimah (pious Muslim clothing). Indonesian Islamic fashion, you may have noticed, is anything but staid and static. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Jakarta Street Style: Indah, Mal Pondok Indah

This is Indah, looking bright and chic in a hijab and modest (though colorful) Muslim dress. Her name means "beautiful" in Indonesian, and the mall I shot these in, appropriately, is the mall of Pondok Indah, a neighborhood in South Jakarta, Indonesia, that translates to "Beautiful Corner."  

For the next three weeks, I will be shooting street style in Jakarta and Bandung, two of the cities in Indonesia, for those of you keeping track, where I have previously done ethnographic fieldwork. As always, it's surreal to be back here.I get this strange sensation of continuity between my trips, like I've never actually left in the first place. Meanwhile, Jakarta keeps changing around me.

Shooting street style in Jakarta is a funny thing, though. In fact shooting on the streets themselves is a virtual impossibility. Why? You ask. Because they look like this.

And this.

And the sidewalks look like this. 

There is nowhere to walk. The streets barely move. There is, frankly, no place for style to conceivably take place on them. So style happens at malls instead, where the middle class can escape the noise and particulate matter that saturates the air. Jakarta's developers were unable to fix the streets. So they built an alternative city indoors. 

Shooting in malls makes for a very different street style experience than I'm used to. It's not my favorite, I have to admit. But I had fun anyway. The three people I photographed today were incredibly kind and gracious, if a little uncomfortable with the whole thing, some white dude with long hair, a beard, and a beanie walking up to them carrying a big ass camera. I can speak Indonesian, so that helps, and they had no trouble understanding the concept of what I was doing. Indonesia has more bloggers per capita than just about anywhere. One in four Indonesians with Internet access has their own blog. And that's not counting the number of Indonesians who microblog. Indonesia is now something like number two in the world for Twitter users and fifth for Facebook. 

For those of you who know nothing else about Indonesia, here's a (very) brief primer: It's the world's fourth largest nation, with a population of some 230 million people spread out across 17,000 islands in Southeast Asia. I'm only going to be on Java for the duration of my trip. Java, however, accounts for half the country's population. Most of you have probably drunk coffee from here. Most of you probably have at least one item of clothing manufactured here. Indonesia is also an incredibly diverse place, with some 300 hundred ethnic groups speaking hundreds of different languages. There are dozens of religions practiced, though most Indonesians (around 90%) claim Islam on their identification cards. That would make it the country with the world's biggest Muslim population. It's got beautiful beaches and some of the densest rainforests, oil and minerals, orangutans and tigers. Most Americans, however, know it for two other things, if they know it at all: tsunamis and terrorism. Hopefully over the next few weeks of my style survey, your impression will have expanded.  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Philadelphia Street Style: Kaleb and Adele

Monday, January 7, 2013

Capturing the Zeitgeist of Style, One Click at a Time : My Conversation with Alkistis Tsitouri of Streetgeist

Alkistis Tsitouri is the photographer behind Streetgeist, a popular street style blog that originated in Athens, Greece in 2008, before moving to Los Angeles, California in 2010. The following is a condensed and edited version of our conversation via Skype on 12/18/2012, when we talked about the difference between fashion in Greece and California, her feelings about advertising and the commercialization of the style blogosphere, and her love of portrait photography, among other topics. It was, I should add for the purposes of full disclosure, our second conversation. I’d spoken with her the week prior in the midst of finals, article deadlines, and general end of school term insanity, and had somehow neglected to record the conversation. She was gracious enough to give me a second chance.

Brent: How would you define street style photography as a genre? What makes it different from other genres of photography?

Alkistis: The focus, first of all, because the focus is fashion. Everything revolves around fashion. Fashion photography, of course is different from street style, [in that] it’s directed. It’s directed by the photographer, the stylist and the art director. Everything is set up in advance. It’s staged.  But [with] street style photography it’s very much a matter of [going] out into the world and hunt[ing] for the right person, the right moment, the right light, and then convincing [that person] to pose for you.
Image by Alkistis Tsitouri, Los Angeles, California.

Brent: Should street style photography have a particular look about it?

Alkistis: No. It shouldn’t. It probably will be [conventionalized] or canonized in the future. But for now, [I don’t think] street style photographers should have in their minds anything [specific] to do or not do. That’s the beauty of it, actually. Because every blog is different. Or some blogs [in any case].

Brent: So what got you into street style photography then?

Alkistis: I didn’t think about it too much when I started. It’s just that Aris [the co-founder of Streetgeist and its website administrator] and I enjoyed looking at other blogs, and decided that we could do that with Athens. Nobody was doing that. We thought there were many interesting stylish people out there, and we felt that we could do it nicely. So we did it.
Image by Alkistis Tsitouri, Santa Monica, California. 
Brent: What was it like the first time you went out?

Alkistis: It was very stressful. I was trying to convince myself to go up to people I didn’t know, and I was afraid I would get rejected and that I wouldn’t get any pictures. But I did it, and it was successful, even though [the first pictures I took] have nothing to do with what Streetgeist is now. I got some satisfaction out of it, so I continued to do it.

The first pictures were in a nightclub, which is weird, because I don’t do indoor shoots now. But I [think] it was a good choice, because people [at nightclubs] expect other people [whom they don’t yet know] to talk to them. They meet new people there. And the alcohol involved helped as well. [I didn’t drink] though.  I cannot shoot and drink, especially in low light conditions.
Alkistis Tsitouri's first post on Streetgeist back in 2008, Athens, Greece. 
Brent: I can understand. That’s a lot of thinking to have to do when you’re intoxicated. So you said that those early images don’t have a lot to do with what Streetgeist looks like visually now. So, I’m wondering how you would describe the look of Streetgeist?

Alkistis: Well, it’s very clean. I’m very strict with the composition of the images and the way my subjects are [posed] in the picture. I think of it [as adhering to a specific] typology.

Brent: I notice that there’s a real minimum of text on the site, and I’m curious why you made that choice.

Alikistis: Because we want the pictures to be inspirational, and we don’t care if their clothes are this [brand] or another. You see pictures. You like it. You get inspiration out of it. And maybe [what they’re wearing] finds [its] way into your closet.

The other important thing is we want the pictures to be very strong. We don’t want to take away from the pictures with any text. And that’s why, we [also] keep the design clean on the blog. 

Image by Alkistis Tsitouri, Los Angeles, California.

Brent: So back in 2010 you moved to LA, and I’m imagining that moving to LA you become very aware of what style was like in Athens. Maybe when you’re in Athens it’s less clear than it is when you move away from it. So I’m curious, looking back now how would you describe the Athens style?

Alkistis: That’s a very good question, because I didn’t have any [sense of that back then], but once I moved out [here], and time passed, and I looked back, I [started thinking], “Hey, that’s different!”
First of all, Athens has good taste. The people I photograph, the ones who are actually making the effort, are very [well-dressed].

Brent: It’s always a small minority.

Alkistis: Exactly. [But] there is also this thing that makes [style in Athens] is different [from LA style]. I don’t know how to describe it, [but now] I can recognize it from miles away. And [perhaps] by me photographing it, the viewer can recognize it [as well].
Image by Alkistis Tsitouri, Athens, Greece.
Brent: Now let’s switch things around a bit. What is it that you noticed about style in LA, after living in Athens?

Alkistis: Well, the first shock I had was in how people can wear the same type (summer or spring) of clothes all year round. At the beginning I did’t like that. I was surprised by how casual everyone dresses. Here in LA, it’s very very very casual. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s just how it is. Looking back now I have learned to appreciate the nice weather of Los Angeles and begin to actually notice differences in the style from one season to the other.The other thing [I notice] sometimes is the lack of layering, due to the warm weather. I miss layering, because layering is an opportunity to play with and be more creative with clothes. 
Image by Alkistis Tsitouri, Los Angeles, California. 
Brent: So what other bloggers or photographers have been most influential on your work?

Alkistis: The Sartorialist, Hel Looks, and Facehunter. With Facehunter we have also participated in a project called “Vienna Fashion Observatory” but unfortunately we did not coincide, he was there a few weeks before us.They invited us [and other artists, designers, and bloggers] to do what we do [as a way to capture the look of Vienna]. We observed the city from a fashion focus point. But it was more like a survey.  

Brent: Was it sort of like a social study? A social study of style.

Alkistis: Yes.
Image by Alkistis Tsitouri for the Vienna Fashion Observatory, Vienna, Austria.
Brent: This brings up one of the things I’ve been thinking about lately, while doing street style myself: It’s not really that different from what I do as an anthropologist.

Alkistis: Exactly. And that’s what is so interesting [about it]. So we [Aris and I] were there for two weeks. It was the first time that I was so close to other bloggers like me.

Brent: Do you think that in the blogosphere these days those kinds of in-person personal relationships still matters in terms of networking and getting your blogs out there and getting recognition?

Alkistis: Of course. It’s all based —[whether] street style, fashion photography, [or] the blog we have — on relationships. First of all, the people on the street have to trust you, so that they let you take the picture, and sign the release. I don’t know if you’re doing releases?

Brent: I am. You do them as well?

Alkistis: Of course.

Brent: So few of the people I’ve talked to seem to.

Alkistis: While it is not really required to obtain a release, I like to be upfront about the use of the photos.
Image by Alkistis Tsitouri, Brooklyn, New York.
Brent: Yeah, that makes sense. I’ve always wondered about that. And yet, I’ve heard so few stories of street style bloggers using releases. I assume that people who are writing books must be doing releases, but I don’t know.

Alkistis: I don’t know either. It would be a great question for others.

Brent: Well if I can get Scott Schuman to let me interview him I’ll ask him.

Alkistis: How about with Facehunter? Because he did a book, and he’s taking millions of pictures all the time. That would be interesting [to know too].

Brent: It’s sort of hard to imagine he gets releases for all of them.

Alkistis: Probably not.
Brent: So aside from getting photo releases and whatnot, is there anything that you do to establish trust between you and the people you take pictures of? What’s your routine when you go up to somebody?

Image by Alkistis Tsitouri, Athens, Greece. 
Alkistis: I stop them and say “Sorry, I’m a fashion blogger.” It’s easier nowadays because I [just] say I’m a fashion blogger, and they’re like, “Oh. Yeah. [Okay].”  I say, “Hey, I’m a fashion blogger or a street style blogger.” It depends on the situation, [though] usually I say I’m a fashion blogger. “And I take pictures of people I find on the street and I like their style like you. Can I take your picture?” And then I introduce myself and ask for their name and continue with casual chitchat.
Brent: Right. And how often do people turn you down?

Alkistis: It’s a small percentage, but it is consistently there. Some people are shy, and you can’t do anything about it. And some people just run away from you. I don’t know if you have that (same thing happen to you). It’s pretty rare, [though].

Brent: It’s pretty rare for me as well. And what I find is that I usually know instantly that they are going to turn me down, once I ask them.

Alkistis: Yes, exactly. And I don’t even push.

Image by Alkistis Tsitouri, Athens, Greece. 
Brent: How do you determine whether you [even] want to photograph somebody?

Alkistis: Sometimes I instantly know. I mean, it doesn’t even go through my brain. My body just runs up to them, and I start talking to them, and then I realize, “Oh! I just did that!” Sometimes I think twice and I follow them and double check the clothes and the style [they’re wearing]. So, I don’t know. There’s something that attracts me. Sometimes it’s just the clothes. Sometimes it’s the face. Sometimes it’s all [of it] together. There’s something about some people. I don’t know how to say what it is.

Brent: Do you ever regret the choice [of subject for your photographs]?

Alkistis: Not really. Mostly I regret mistakes I make in taking the picture. That’s what I regret. When the picture is not good enough, I did something wrong, not the people [I photograph].
Brent: And do you do anything to get people to relax when you take their pictures?

Alkistis: Sometimes I don’t want them to relax, so I’m very strict with them. [Only] sometimes, though. It’s easier for me to get them to pose the way I want them to pose [when they’re not too relaxed]. Sometimes, [however], if they’re too stressed, then I need to relax them, because they look very tense posing the way I want them to pose. So, I talk to them more, and I talk to them while I shoot them, which really helps. Otherwise [they] feel very vulnerable there, and it makes sense since they’re in the middle of the street and there’s a person [they] don’t know and have seen for the first time directing them and taking their picture. So, the more you talk to them the easier [it is]. They don’t think about what they’re doing [that way].
Image by Alkistis Tsitouri, Athens, Greece.
Brent: How many pictures on average would you say you take of someone?

Alkistis: On average it’s about twenty clicks. It doesn’t feel that much for them, [though]. Usually the first ones are the best.
Brent: Yeah, I notice that for myself too. I feel like I use one of my first pictures the majority of the time. I probably do about the same number of shots as you do.

Alkistis: Because actually they don’t feel comfortable after too many clicks. They think maybe something is wrong with them. Which is not true.

Brent: So I notice on your blog [that you] currently have ShopBop as a sponsor, and I’m wondering what your personal thoughts are on paid content, advertising, sponsored posts and whatnot on blogs.

Alkistis: Well, when it happens, basically, it’s a very good thing, because it gives you the opportunity to keep on doing what you’re doing without having to worry about having another job. I appreciate it actually. It means you’re doing something good. And it gives you the means to work more on what you’re already doing.

Image by Alkistis Tsitouri, Los Angeles, California.
Brent: So have advertisements that you’ve had on your blog been enough to make a living off of for you, or have you had to supplement your income in other ways?

Alkistis: Well, we only have one ad, so, no it’s not enough. But it’s very helpful. The rest of my income comes from projects that come from the blog. Companies, or [potential] clients who like the blog, contact me to do Street Style or other Fashion photoshoots. So the blog is my job, I guess. And it brings jobs as well.
Brent: Streetgeist serves as a kind of online portfolio for you. It provides people a way of finding out what kind of work you do and contacting you because of it.

Alkistis:  Yes, it’s something like that. I don’t know how people would [find me] otherwise. [And I still think it’s sort of] amazing that people contact me for work because they like our blog.       

Brent: I think a lot of people would love to be in that position.

Alkistis: Exactly. And that’s because of the blog. This is a totally new age thing.

Image by Alkistis Tsitouri, Brooklyn, New York.
Brent: So in your professional fashion work do you maintain the same basic aesthetic, or do you have to gear it around what the client wants?

Alkistis: The second, of course. And it’s nice, because imagine only taking pictures like [those on my blog] for the rest of my life! It’s great for Streetgeist, but it’s good that I can do other stuff as well. And it’s great for me that I’m able to switch and do whatever the client needs.
Brent: I love the name Streetgeist. It’s one of the more clever names for a street style blog I’ve heard. How did that come about?

Alkistis: Thank you for saying that. [The name is] actually the baby of Aris, the other Streetgeist founder. We were trying to come up with a nice name, “street blah blah blah blah blah,” and he had this epiphany, “Streetgeist.” Geist in German means “ghost” or “spirit,” and when he came up with the name I was like “I think that’s the one!”
Image by Alkistis Tsitouri, Athens, Greece.
Brent: And you were fortunate that it was available as a URL.

Alkistis: That’s true.

Brent: It feels like it’s getting more and more difficult to come up with a name that’s not taken.

Alkistis: And because of that we found [the name Streetgeist]. We had other ideas before Streetgeist, but we checked on them and they weren’t available. It [forced us to] be more creative.

Brent: Is there anything else you would like my readers to know about you or Streetgeist?

Alkistis: Well, I don’t know if it’s important, but I was thinking before when we were talking about Facehunter, that what allowed me to overcome my fears in the beginning when we started the blog was that I was looking at Facehunter’s blog, and I went back and back and back [through his posts], until I came to his first pictures in 2006.  The first pictures were just not as nice as his work now, or were then in 2008, and that allowed me to see that he had [in fact] evolved. [He had become] such a good blogger and such a good photographer, and by 2008 everything he was doing was just so amazing. So I realized, I can start [my own blog] as well, even if it isn’t perfect [at first]. And I can hope that I can evolve too]. And that thought allowed me to start [the blog in the first place].

Image by Alkistis Tsitouri, Long Beach, California.