Friday, March 29, 2013
Monday, March 25, 2013
Friday, March 22, 2013
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Sophi Reaptress is a local clothing designer, whose edgy personal aesthetic matches her designs. She has some very cool leggings, tops, and accessories on display (and for purchase) at sophireaptress.com.Check out the spike and Swarovski-crystal encrusted eyepatch! I ran into her in front of the Buffalo Exchange on Chestnut St.
Monday, March 18, 2013
Friday, March 15, 2013
Scanning photo releases at the office the other day, I realized it had been almost a month since I'd been out shooting. It didn't feel like it. I've been busily writing and posting and hardly noticed. But this past Wednesday I finally felt the need to get out there again. Here are the first of several new posts from the streets of Philly.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Monday, March 11, 2013
Chiara Ferragni is the superstar blogger behind The Blonde Salad. I caught her outside the Roseland Ballroom in New York on the second to last day of Fashion Week. And by I, I mean myself and a whole mess of other street style bloggers. For insight into how infested with street style bloggers fashion week is these days, watch this cool documentary on style.com.
The other day, I had a long, really fascinating conversation via Google video Chat with Nadia of the critical fashion/media blog Listen Girlfriends. She asked me if shooting at Fashion Week had changed the way I look at blogs at all. I told her, yes. It had. And one of the concrete ways in which it's changed how I look at blogs is that I pay far more attention to the direction of peoples' eyes in their pictures. I used to assume that when someone was looking away from the camera in a street style pic, it was a stylistic choice of the photographer. Now I tend to assume it means that the subject was, in fact, posing for a different photographer. That, after all, is the reality of shooting at fashion weeks. Even the biggest name photographers aren't necessarily able to get exclusive shoots of style icons without other people jumping in.
In these pictures of Chiara, it's quite easy to tell when she's posing for me and when she's posing for someone else. It's all in the direction of the eyes. Once you start paying attention to it, it's hard not to notice.
Friday, March 8, 2013
The New York Times website put together a not-entirely-flattering slide show profiling vintage boutique owner and "extremely provisional celebrity" Michelle Harper yesterday. It is perhaps a little unnecessarily dismissive, but it gets to the heart of the imaginary divide between street style celebrity and the regular old-fashioned variety. I took this shot of Michelle Harper, who quite generously and graciously posed for me, outside the Jeremy Scott show at Milk Studios.
Thursday, March 7, 2013
Tiffany does the personal style blog Lipstick and Highwaters. Check it out. She's one of several bloggers who posed for street style pics for me at IFBcon. I'm hoping to post more of them in the next few weeks. Stay tuned.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Wataru "Bob" Shimosato does one of my favorite street style blogs, An Unknown Quantity. He's also one of the better dressed street style photographers covering New York Fashion Week. I think of him, along with Adam Katz Sinding and Youngjun Koo, as part of the "school of blur," a group of Nikon-toting New York-based cool kids who have mastered the art of bokeh, the background blur that results when you open up the aperture of a camera to one of its widest settings. It lends his photos the same sort of moody mystique he cultivates in his personal style. I don't think I've quite captured that in this picture. My photos have not yet achieved the right contrast of crystal clear subjects and dense blurry backgrounds. But I'm working on it.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
I took these shots one block away from the runway show of Reed Krakoff on 22nd St in New York City. I wasn't in front of the entrance. I wasn't huddled with the other photographers. Is this, then, street style, in the old-fashioned sense of the term? Other folks seemed to think so. I wasn't the only lone wolf street style photographer roaming the area around the event, looking for "impromptu" shots of "real people on the streets." You get better ambience that way: grafittied walls, backdrops of Chelsea with no other pedestrians stepping into your shot. And you get to keep your street style integrity more or less intact. I have to say, though, shooting near runway events feels a little like stacking the decks, especially when, as in these pictures, the people you just happen to capture out walking the streets also happen to work as professional models. But don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. Shooting professional models (and not paying them)is awesome. At least for the photographers. They're easy to work with. Nearly every shot is usable. But it's an open question whether the models get anything out of the deal, especially when photographers like me circulate neither their names nor agency info. Fashion's digital-age economy is built on volunteer, and often anonymous labor. And it's built on the assumption that if we get our image out there enough something amazing will happen for us. And sometimes it does. A Susie Bubble or an Olivia Palermo rises up out the Fashion Week fray every couple of years. They make their name explicitly through being seen over and over again at these events, with their names attached to their image or otherwise. As for everyone else photographed, who knows? Maybe street style photography has become a new form of exploitation, the image standing in for the body subjected to the dictates of labor. After all, we are all of us in the business of self-branding these days. We — as in the collective we of online entrepreneurs — are creative culture's new "precariat," and whether we have longterm careers or not depends in large part on how visible we are out there in the blogosphere. Being visible out there, furthermore, takes a lot of work. The bottom line: get used to not getting paid. That's what happens when everything is free.
Monday, March 4, 2013
I don't know who this is. She wasn't surrounded by street style photographers when walking through Lincoln Center. Her ego did not project outside of her body. There was no calculation as to this photograph's worth when I decided whether or not to take her picture. It was all too immediate for that. I simply liked the way she looked and approached her. These shots are among my favorite for the week.
Friday, March 1, 2013
It was 4pm of Day Six of New York Fashion Week. I had been shooting all day, and the madness of the fashion week circus was wearing me down. I was tired of chasing style celebrities. I felt cheap, even a bit contemptible, some low-rent paparazzo fighting over images of rich Russian fashionistas I'd never even heard of before I started shooting street style. I resolved, as Dee from Racked NY and I made our way to the Reed Krakoff show on 22nd Street, to separate myself from the pack this time. I just wanted to go back to taking pictures of people I found interesting. I didn't care who they were or what place they occupied in the fashion world hierarchy. I needed to gain something of myself back.
When I saw the crowd of photographers gathered in front of the event, I made my move, walked up 22nd Street to stand on my own. I found a quiet spot some 100 feet from the corner of 22nd and 10th and waited. And within some 30 seconds of making that move, guess who I saw walking under an overpass headed directly towards me, with no else around to steal my shot? Miroslava Duma, of course, the queen of the Russian fashionistas and one of the most photographed figures in the entire street style blogosphere. I acted by reflex, no thought to my action. "Excuse me, Miroslava," I said. "Would you mind if I took your picture?" She nodded slightly and stopped for a moment, and I aimed and took my shot. One shot. The one just above this text. That's all I managed to get. I don't know what the hell was going on with my camera, but it wasn't focusing right. And Miroslava, naturally, had better things to do than wait around for me to figure it out. She quietly thanked me and moved on. And I went back to my resolve to focus on people, not celebrity.
The next person I saw, walking by herself towards me, was Kate Lanphear, the former fashion editor of Elle who now works for T Magazine and is one of the most notoriously difficult style stars to get pictures of. She tends to dress down (in relative terms, of course) these days and avoid cameras. "Excuse me, Kate," I heard the words escape my mouth before I could stop them. "Would you mind if I took your picture." She too — unbelievably— stopped, looked straight at my camera, and gave me approximately 1.5 seconds to take her picture before walking on. I got a few shots. None were my favorite. In fact, I had gotten better images of her earlier that day. But none by solo audience.
I then spotted an interesting-looking woman in a zebra-striped skirt that matched, or perhaps clashed, with the zebra-striped graffiti in front of the Comme des Garçons shop across the street. I had no idea if she was someone I was supposed to know about, and that was exactly what I was looking for. I crossed traffic to reach her and got a couple of really nice shots. I then took a couple of my favorite shots of the week, portraits of dressed-down models, each of whom generously gave me a couple of minutes of their time, in front of a tag-covered wall. I felt like a real street style photographer for a moment. And just as I was laughing to myself about how ironic it was that my strategy of not trying to compete with the other photographers was paying off in big, and rather unexpected way, I spotted Anna Della Russo across the street, a lone street style photographer casually taking her image. So I crossed the street again and jumped in on her shot. Was it a classy move? I don't know. But it's how the game is played.