Thursday, June 23, 2011
The Sartorialist by Scott Schuman
Posted by Jay at 9:12 PM
Some of the best fashion photography events happen not only in studios, but also out in the streets of the city. Through photographer Scott Schuman's lens, the dapper designs of ordinary people which would ordinarily go unnoticed are captured for posterity and presented on The Sartorialist blog.
The Sartorialist, which recently won LIFE.com's first annual Photo Blog Awards, stemmed out of Mr. Schuman's own experience in the fashion industry. He saw something missing between what he saw in the showrooms and the streets, and thought that he could try to bridge that gap. He started to carry a digital camera and documented the people out of the studio whom he thought would be inspirational to designers. He began the Sartorialist blog in 2005 to share his findings, and the results have been extraordinary.
Unlike other photography sites and fashion blogs, The Sartorialist doesn't just concentrate on the usual 20-40 year old demographic; all kinds of peoples, cultures and ages are represented. It's not just an apparel and accessories site either; the focus is always on the people and how they wear their clothes and not the other way around.
The photography style employed is quite simple; the subjects are presented in close-ups, three-quarters or full body attire. Some of them sit, some of them are on bikes, but most of them just stand naturally. Because of the nature of their settings, Mr. Schuman has to work fast with what he's presented. He only uses natural light and doesn't go out of his way to pose them in a particular way.
Mr. Schuman takes photographs in the streets of many cities, but most of the photos are taken in New York, Paris, Milan and Florence in between his visits to the fashion shows there. Although there is a universal feel to all of these portraits, each of these cities have their own individuality that you can start to see as you go through the blog.
The subjects and their clothing all make the photographs work. There is nothing special the Mr. Schuman does save for the fact that he spends hours on the streets patiently looking for those two or three shots that will make the blog. His passion for fashion clearly radiates in every post and it becomes clear that photography is only the medium through which his passion can be shared.
Over the years, The Sartorialist has become even more famous as one of the best fashion websites that's still active today. However, something must be said of the documentary quality that Mr. Schuman displays in his photographs. While most comments on his blog focus on the fashion that the subjects wear, years from now these images will be celebrated for preserving the culture of these cities through the photographic form. They are both objective and beautiful at the same time. The full-length photographs in particular are reminiscent of photographer August Saunder's typologies many decades ago.
These are just a fraction of the treasure trove of images accumulated from over five years of documentation by Mr. Schuman. You can find more of these excellent photographs over at The Sartorialist blog. If you want to go over the best photographs while you're away from your computer, Scot Schuman has also published The Sartorialist book.