Thursday, October 31, 2013
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Italian fashion journalist Angelo Flaccavento has for several years now been one of the most photographed faces of Pitti Uomo and other major menswear events. If you read coverage of those events and still don't recognize Flaccavento from this image, it's probably because he recently shaved the big puffy beard that used to define his look. Read The Satorialist's profile of Flaccavento here to see what I'm talking about. When I spotted Flaccavento outside Proenza Schouler at this past New York Fashion Week, no one was paying any attention to him. It might have been his newfound beardlessness. Or it might simply have been that photographers don't so much care about men at New York Fashion Week.In any case, I was quietly thrilled to get this shot. Angelo Flaccavento has become one of my personal fashion icons.
Monday, October 28, 2013
Friday, October 25, 2013
Gabby was being teased by her friends as I shot the first round of these pictures. You can see them stomping away in the background. As such, she remains remarkably poised in these shots.
Here she's wearing pants, a denim shirt and a scarf all picked up at Philly AIDS Thrift. The shoes and hat she got on eBay.
Gabby describes her style as "girly boy." Her musical preferences run to Active Child, James Blake, The Weekend, and Wavves.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
The whole time I was photographing Jordan, I too, unbeknownst to me, was being photographed by my colleague Al. It was Philly Photo Day, and photographers were combing the streets of Philly looking for images to submit to an online competition. Good luck, Al!
Jordan is wearing a polo shirt from Old Navy with a thrifted jacket, Top Man pants, and an H&M cap. The boots, probably the first thing to catch my eye, are from a shop in NYC called Miz Mooz. I forgot to ask about his style and musical taste, since I was distracted by my colleague with a camera.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Luis is a poet and the founder/CEO of Voices in Power, a non-profit collective of Philly underground poets. He describes his style as "everything distressed, painted, or ripped." He DIYs, he says, nearly everything he puts on, making it his own through the act of creative destruction. As for music, he listens to "a little bit of everything," though mostly, he just listens to poetry. Philly, he tells me, has been producing some pretty awesome stuff of late.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Monday, October 21, 2013
I caught Brianna on her way to work at Urban Outfitters. I have, no doubt, shot my share of their employees over the last year and a half. Her jeans are thrifted American Eagle Outfitters. Her jean jacket is thrifted as well. Her Nirvana T-shirt is Urban Outfitters, as is her beanie. She describes her style as "how I feel. Sometimes urban chic. Sometimes rocker grunge. Always a little tomboyish." Her musical taste runs to Drake, Frank Ocean, Jhené Aiko, and The Weekend.
Friday, October 18, 2013
Tevin was my first subject/victim. Here he's wearing a COP Connection shirt, Polo boots (untied with the tongue hanging down, as is the fashion, I'm told), an Artex beanie, and a pair of camo pants by someone or other, whose brand failed to make an imprint on Tevin.
Tevin describes his style as "different things on different days. Sometimes retro, sometimes hipster, sometimes classic," as in, like, wingtips and blazers. He "doesn't like to be limited" by labels. The same goes for his musical preference which tends towards R&B and hip hop, but also includes pop, rock, and old jazz.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Nikki is new to Philadelphia. When she moved here a couple of weeks back, her mom gave her that necklace. It used to be her own. The rest of the outfit she has scraped together from various bargain retailers. Those imitation-Versace shorts, for instance, she got at JC Penney. Those boots are from Target. Nikki is not the kind of person who has a ready-made answer to the question "How would you describe your style?" And that's part of what's charming about her. There is no affectation here, just a thoughtfully put-together ensemble of things she likes.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
The Ubiq shop window has become just about my favorite place to shoot in Philly. There's often someone sitting on the ledge there, smoking or just hanging out, like a living mannequin for the Philly street wear brand. For more of my pictures shot there, click here and here.
Here's Lexi, my latest subject captured in the Ubiq window. She's wearing a pair of Air Jordan One shoes, exactly the kind of thing Ubiq sells, along with Gap jeans, and a Hello Kitty t-shirt. Lexi describes her style as "street wear meets scene kid," to which, of course, I had to ask, what does "scene" mean to you? People in scenes, I find, often refer to their own scene as "the scene," as if it were the only one. It can lead to some conceptual confusion. "Well, I guess I mean it in an old school sense" she said, "like emo." I, of course, don't think of emo as "old school," but then I've clearly got over a decade and a half on Lexi. For me, old school is spiked leather jackets and creepers. But what's interesting here is not that she thinks of emo as old school. Of course she would. Emo's like 20 years old now. What's interesting is that she sees street wear and emo as compatible. They used to occupy very different places on the spectrum of styles. But then Lexi's generation doesn't have as much use for such stiff stylistic allegiances. When I asked what kind of music she listens to she told me "R&B. And hardcore." "That's the first time I've ever heard that combination of genres," I told her. We talked about how the old subcultural boundaries are breaking down. We talked about how today, street culture is street culture, and "street" is a broad category that includes skaters, hip hoppers, punks, and club kids in its mix.
Monday, October 14, 2013
In this picture, Lauryn is wearing an H&M jacket and Forever 21 shirt. The woven joggers are Forever 21 as well. Those bright blue shoes are Aldo. The sunglasses are Prada. I asked Lauryn about her style and she said something along the lines of "It's funnny you should ask. This girl just passed by and told me I was 'vintage.' I think she meant 'retro.'" Then she went on to describe herself as "urban retro." As far as music is concerned, she's been listening to a lot of Amy Winehouse lately, along with Solange's new album. She's also a big fan of "old school" stuff like Donny Hathaway, Tracy Chapman, and the blues. I'm a big fan of her afro. It drew me in from a hundred feet away.
Friday, October 11, 2013
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Ok, so today I posted on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram all with the express purpose of driving traffic to my blog. It didn't take long. It's just this short ritual I've worked up around posting new content. And it works, to varying degrees, in doing what I want it to do. People respond to my posts directly or link through to Urban Fieldnotes. They stay informed about what's going on with the blog and take part in the larger conversation I want it to ignite.
But I gotta ask a serious question of all of you, who — like me — engage in this social media circus of constant self-promotion: How do you keep yourself from getting bogged down in it? How do you keep yourself from feeling like a shameless self-promotor or a hopeless narcissist every time you tell your Facebook followers to check out some "exciting new post" on your blog? I'm no stranger to vanity. I appreciate a pat on the back every now and then, "an awesome photo!" posted in the comment section of my website. But self-promotion is not my native habitat. In fact, it feels rather foreign to me. More to the point, it feels kinda gross to me. Maybe it's the aging indie kid in me lashing out, the inner punk rocker accusing me of being a "sell out," but, it's a feeling I just can't quite shake. Nearly every time I post a new image to Instagram, I find myself staring at my iPhone waiting for it to light up with "likes," and as I do so, I feel like a small part of my soul has withered away. I start fantasizing about leaving social media altogether once this project is finished — if, in fact, it's ever finished. I dream about canceling my Internet subscription and going 100% analog from now on. Of course, I know I won't do any of that. Once you're linked in, you stay linked in.
So how do you all deal with it? Or do you have to? Is this just some weird issue of my own, or a common emotional response to blogger self-promotion? I'm guessing some portion of bloggers don't really feel like they self-promote at all. They're just having a conversation with their readers and followers, letting them know when a new post is up the way a friend might tell another friend about some article they read. But some other portion of you must get what I'm talking about. Am I approaching this wrong? Is there some better way to think about it? And is there an alternative to social media self-promotion for a street style blogger like me? Or is this just the new normal? Are we all self-promotors now, hocking our brands on the World Wide Web like it's nothing at all? Is branding the new self-expression? I'm interested in hearing your thoughts.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Monday, October 7, 2013
This wall, right next to the entrance to the Comme Des Garçons store in Chelsea is one of my favorite places to shoot in New York. It's got that picturesque urban quality you usually only find in street art coffee table books. All the pictures I shot here manage to combine just the right blend of "street style" (in the old school sense) and "street fashion" (in the new school one). I caught Ella Catliff, the model and blogger behind La Petite Anglaise, exiting the Kate Spade presentation. I love the way her floral dress clashes with all the graffiti behind her. With street style photography, sometimes more is more.
Friday, October 4, 2013
Here's the second installment of my Friday, "Photographers of Fashion Week" series. Youngjun Koo is the photographer behind the blog I'm Koo. He also does the street style pics for New York Magazine's The Cut and contributes images to GQ among other places. Fairly or not, I think of Koo as belonging to the "School of Blur," that set of New York-based photographers that includes Adam Katz Sinding of Le 21ème, Wataru Bob Shimosato of An Unknown Quantity, Ryosuke Sato of As Usual, and, arguably, Michael C. Dumler of On Abbot Kinney. They are all excellent photographers, who run in the same circles at Fashion Week, often shooting right near one another, even occasionally taking pictures of one another (Shimosato, for instance, has a shot of Koo up on his site right now). They all dress more or less entirely in black, focus their attention on high end looks, and prefer to shoot fragmented, often strangely composed shots of runway show attendees in motion, the aperture on their (generally 85mm) lenses set as wide open as possible. This creates a dense background of blur, known in photography circles as "bokeh." It lends the image an aura of mystery and often creates the impression that the various models, editors, and style stars in their shots are about to walk into a fog bank. I'm fond of the style myself, and a lot of my own work has been influenced by it. In fact, this shot of Koo has been influenced by it. Lately, however, I've been going for something else, something crisper and more composed, something that reinforces the illusion of realism. But what I like about the School of Blur is that they seem so uninterested in realism. Their images ooze with romanticism. They feel edgy and anxious. In Koo's work, which, on his website at least, largely takes the form of portraits cut up into multiple shots, fashion becomes a series of oblique stylized gestures, cinematic stills of some imaginary film noir.
Thursday, October 3, 2013
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Jamele works at Cultured Couture, one of Philly's coolest vintage clothing stores in Old City. I stopped him walking down 3rd St, and we hit the nearest alley for this shoot.
As a vintage store guy, Jamele has pieced together his look from here and there. He described his style to me as "Fuck it! Ballsy," and went on to elaborate that he likes dressing in a way that "looks like an old person, but is still young and hip." In keeping with that, he's wearing a jacket by Burberry over a Levis denim jacket and a Ralph Lauren oxford. His belt is Hermès. His trousers, spattered with paint, are also Ralph Lauren. That hat he "just picked up somewhere." The sunglasses are Porshe Carrera frames. His shoes, he emphatically pronounced, are Belgian Loafers. The Belgian part, he explained, is very important. He is wearing them, in the style of the moment, without socks. That trend is scheduled to expire, by the way, in approximately three weeks, when temperatures dip down into the 50s. Jamele's musical taste veers into the territory of 70s-style electro funk, sort of in the vein of Daft Punk's new record.