I think there is a moment for many people that stands out as the single time or event that registers with us for life as the moment when we fall in love with something. Sometimes the recognition of this pivotal moment comes after the fact as we sit somewhere quietly in contemplation, and other times, it hits us with the immediacy of a morphine dose.
I’m in love with aviation and always have been, particularly with the F-14 Tomcat made famous in Top Gun. I remember sitting on a bed with my feet dangling too short to touch the floor, at four years old flipping through a book as big as I was, seeing it for the first time, and knowing in that very instant, I was looking at something that I would keep close to my heart and would be a driving force through life. Similarly, many have a moment when we realize that photography is what we want to do, and maybe even a specific type.
Having two of my aunts being models, I was sort of surrounded by fashion magazines and photographs my whole life, and I always had an interest in it. I can’t say for certain when it was I decided I wanted to make it part of my life, but I know the Sartorialist had something to do with my casual style, and I knew it right away.
The Sartorialist, whose real name is Scott Schuman, has been photographing street style for some 15 years now, and The Sartorialist Blog has been up for a decade. In this time, his work has been featured in all the fashion magazines that matter, and he’s worked for major brands. His blog, though, is the basis for all of this and it’s more a dialogue, as he says, about the world of fashion and its relationship to daily life.
In a way, it’s very Humans Of New York in terms of look, or I should say Humans Of New York looks similar to The Sartorialist. But where HONY shows an image with a story as told by the subject and made into a soundbite by Brandon, Schuman posts the image and lets the dialogue flow between the millions of people who follow his site. It doesn’t impose a story, and he admits with precision, that the images aren’t his story, but his perception of his field of view at that time. It’s ironically honest in a field where pretense is rampant.
In the short video below, PBS interviews Schuman about his work, his life now, and how it began for him. Interesting to me was how he described the moment he knew he wanted to work in fashion and it was at 15 upon seeing an Armani ad that sort of made him reframe how a man in a suit could look. Also, that he really began shooting at 31, sort of kicking the notion that you’ve gotta begin as a neonate to be successful.