STREET FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY IS MESSING WITH ME

Oct 28, 2011

Written by Chelsea Fagan

No, but seriously, though — what the hell are they doing? What are those scraggly little hipsters with the Scott Schuman tattoos on their chests running around my city with the bowling-ball sized cameras and complete disregard for traffic patterns doing? Paris is officially 67 percent fashion photographers at this point, they are relegated to photographing cats and recycling bins for the most part. They must be staying to mess with me specifically. They have to be. Well, if not, then one of them, or perhaps one of you, needs to answer my very valid, reasonable questions:

  • Why won’t they admit that they clearly only photograph models? I thought the point of street fashion was to take pictures of people that don’t look exactly like everyone you see in every magazine ever — when did that turn into “Oh, this model’s late for a casting call — better get a few shots of her while she’s on her way?” If I had a dollar for every person on these sites that wasn’t 6’1”, 110 pounds, and fucking beautiful — I would have, like, three dollars max.
  • What the hell are these people doing? I’m sorry, but a 50-year-old Asian man wearing a Paul Smith suit, a denim jacket, a mink stole, a Louis Vuitton backpack, Air Force Ones, and shutter shades — WHERE IS HE GOING? Does he work at an accounting firm run by Kanye West and a 10-year-old girl? Is he late for an appointment with Willy Wonka at the World Bank? Seriously, this man had one thing and one thing alone on his agenda that day: Stand awkwardly on the corner of the street, smoke a cigarette, and wait for people to come take his picture.
  • Where do people buy these absurd, absurd clothes? I know that a lot of it is more like moving art installations than actual clothes, but you take a picture of a chick wearing a floor-length ball gown made entirely out of Nerds Ropes and you don’t offer any explanation — like, sure, we’re all just supposed to nod along with great dignity and appreciation for art as we ignore the fact that she’s walking around an actual city in modern civilization wearing a bra shaped like a dolphin. Right, okay.
  • What do people wear if they don’t have a billion dollars at their disposal? You cannot deny that 70 percent of street fashion photography is now just the most amazing, expensive, creme de la creme stuff available. It’s not like they ever just take a picture of some girl wearing an H&M cardigan in a smart, interesting way — street fashion photography essentially just shows you all the fabulous, absurdist ways you can carry that new Fendi clutch! With that Vera Wang wedding dress and coat made out of an animal only rich people know about — duh!
  • Why are there only two options — extremely put together and classy, or crust punk covered with scabs and rubber bands? Apparently the only alternative to being a rich fasionista, if you want to get on style blogs, is to just stop showering for a few months and wear the same plaid shirt every day. You’re “edgy”? And “edgy” is “fashionable”?
  • Where do you find these people? I walk around Paris every day — every single day — and have never once seen a woman running to catch a train while wearing an evening gown with a Hefty bag shawl and a pair of cowboy boots. I want to know where you’re finding them — is there just a farm of impeccably dressed, charming, smoking older men in semi-matching suits? Can I go to this farm?
  • Why do you insist on taking pictures of size-6 women and referring to them as “curvy?” Come on, bro, that shit is so patronizing. “Look, we’re including you, too, fatties!! <3″
  • How do you find sexy, impeccably dressed older people riding scooters? Where is that secret community? The day I see an older woman in five-inch heels and a floor-length skirt strap on a pink helmet and go putting around the Concorde, I will get “FASHION 4 LYFE” tattooed on my forehead. Stop just blatantly paying well-dressed older people to do fun-looking stuff. We know what their actual hobby here is — sitting outside at cafes and looking at passerby with the hatred of Dante’s Inferno.

44 comments :

Anonymous said...

Yeahhh, baby! Well said!
Great post!

Lola Finn said...

I´m totaly agree with you!!! You are so right! That´s the reason why I love your blog so!

Alice /// VESTIGIAL WINGS said...

ahahaha i wonder this sometimes

RAYNE said...

Well said, she took the words right out of my mouth!

xx
www.lluviaforallseasons.com

al said...

amen! thanks for sharing this.

xo
alicia
the-champagnelife.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

hahahahaha true shit!

Anonymous said...

That made my day ;)

Anonymous said...

oh my god. i've got the same beef.

kittenmasks said...

These gripes pretty much sum up why I don't read The Sartorialist. There are a lot of accusations floating around the internet that he actually poses his photos, which would explain half the reasons listed here.

But one thing I find disconcerting is that whenever non-model black women (i.e. Julia Sarr Jamois) are photographed, they've always got natural hair. Why can't the girls with relaxed hair or weaves get love, too? It's like fashion is saying that they want their minorities in the most exotic form possible, and that any assimilated face is unacceptable.

The industry is so fucking backwards.

Danielle said...

Haha! Good read.

S + T said...

Hahaha that was a great read! It even made it's way through my study-addled brain haha

T

Marta said...

You just expressed what a lot of us probably think without giving it much thought. Reading this was very entertaining. So true everything!

Anonymous said...

Magnificent.

Style isn't tasteless, random deployment of wealth, malnutrition and a manicurist.

gwendolyn said...

this is seriously the best thing i've read on a fashion blog, ever. i think you are amazing + now i'm floored by your perspective. thanks for saying (in an extremely funny, smart + charming way) what most of us "normal" girls have floating around in our heads. you rule. xog.

paperwhales said...

LOVE THIS POST!

Dimi said...

Love this!

stylemewithsugar.blogspot.com

the style crusader said...

Street photographers do pose the people they take photos of. Especially people like the Sartorialist who have the clout to request people like Anna dello Russo to meet him before shows to get the right photograph before releasing her to the masses of photographers waiting outside the shows. I've seen him approach a venue with Olivia Palermo - signaling a clear 'we just our own private photo shoot before coming here'.

Anyway. Regardless. A huge selection of these photos, especially this time of year, are taken outside fashion shows which explains the ridiculous get ups and zanny people. It's fashion's most bizarre and they are all crammed into one place. It's total madness.

Totally agree on all the points though... it's annoying when all the photos are just of the exact same 'it' designer pieces (Alexander Wang silver cape heels... Miu Miu glitter shoes... Prada oversized flappy sequins). I much prefer real people in real clothes - but you just have to look to smaller street style blogs to find that. xx

Anonymous said...

and this just summarizes why you are the bomb diggity.

readysetfashion said...

100% truth.

nataliya said...

amen sister

Isabel said...

This is the only thing Chelsea Fagan has ever written that I marginally agree with.

Anonymous said...

I tooootally agree with you. And I've always wanted someone to say those things because apparently everybody thinks it's normal. So, thank you! ;) (plus, it was hilarious.)

isis said...

I posted an angry rant about this the other day. What is the point of only photographing models?!?! of course they are going to look good. Why not photography a person who works a regular ass min. wage job who actually looks good, now that's a challenge. until then, borrrring.

BrĂ­d said...

This is so hilarious! Absolutely brilliant writing!
Bx

Miss Oh' said...

This is shere genious, love the writing, atb least 80% of this is true - and that's a lot! :)

x
Oh'

blogbymissoh.blogspot.com

Tash said...

Hilarious and right on the mark. I always wonder where the street part of street fashion is.

This tumblrs quite good for some inspiration, http://meetthestreet.tumblr.com. but does still display the grungy/high glamor extremes.


Tash
(milkandmead.com)

Claire said...

This is fantastic.

Anonymous said...

i totally agree with you, where are the real people that can´t afford designer clothes and IT stuff like shoes and bags!
where are the real people that only can buy H&M, zara, etc. clothes? where is the girl that it´s not model and work on an office 8h a day?
thank you so much for this words and the way you said it.
totally agree.

poca said...

Holy buckets YOU HAVE FORMED MAGIC SENTENCES THAT EXPLAIN ALL OF MY THOUGHTS.

Thank you DANKA gracias & size 6 is NOT "PLUS"

xoxx,
Poca
www.stylespotrun.com
Thrifting Ruway/Thrifting Trends

Anonymous said...

I read this on Thought Catalog. They have numerous articles sprinkled with the same wit and humor. You should check it out.

Sophia said...

Hahaha Oh God I laughed so hard but unfortunately it's true. Hence why I'm not interested in Scott Schuman's blog so much anymore. Most of the time it's just depressing for the average human. Smaller street style blogs are just better simply because they're more relateable.

www.personal-uniform.com/

jess said...

Every second of this was amazing! Especially the part about size 6 models being curvy! I have literally had said this over and over and it must be my number one pet peeve in the entire world. Look, everyone wants to be thin, but lets not be stupid. Anyway, love you and love this post!

Stephanie Goh said...

what a refreshing read, thanks for posting this up!

steph / absolutely-fuzzy.com

Alexis said...

Brilliant. I completely agree.

Bethane said...

AHAHAH this is genius

http://thekithandthekin.blogspot.com/

Tiff James Deen said...

You're fcuking brilliant!!!!

She Wears, She Shares said...

yep. yep. I can't say it's not nice looking at things I can't afford, but there is a much more appreciation placed on individuals who can where the same things over and over, but in different ways.

There is still originality out there. Just harder to come by...



Julie

madeleine said...

This is fucking epic

Natalie of Fashion Intel said...

This made me poop my pants with laughter. What, that's never happened to you?

Acid Wallpaper said...

I agree with what you're saying entirely, and lost my love for the "big" street-style blogs a long time ago. Discotheque Confusion wrote a similar piece not so long ago, and linked to that video of Anna della Russo jumping in front of the camera as if it was spontaneous - fucking weird.
I still think there's a place for those kind of blogs - after all, they're still massive - but I wish I could find some GOOD, REAL ones like they themselves genuinely used to be at one point.

Would love you to do a follow up to this.. with a selection of the goodies that have stayed true to actual "street style".

Much love,
S

Anonymous said...

So hillarious, i almost chocked! But seriously- most of these so called street fashion bloggers are just trying to get famous around the "right crowd", and i meen not only the IT girls, but among the biggest and most expensive labels....so they can then go ahead to shoot their campaings etc... Think of it this way- as soon as you get a necessary amount of views- you get tons of freebees like bags and shoes from luxury brands.... And they will also notice your blog if you take pics of popular socialites wearing their brand... And the same girls for the travelling starlets- they wear the designers, to get their picture taken...

YAN.C said...

awww shit i hope phil-oh and tommy ton reads this because they were at sydney fashion week and didn't at all once glimpse at ordinary people in great clothing but only decided to snap a photo of some tall bimbo wearing a baseball jersey as a dress in heels.

I think someone should publish this in a magazine.

Jessica Buurman said...

Wonderful thanks for sharing this.



http://www.shopjessicabuurman.com/lookbook-street-fashion_c314

laura said...

hey jayne,
flicking through your old posts and was thinking reading this, have you ever visited the finnish equivalent of street style sites ? hel-looks.com it is. the sickest combo of grannies and 5-year-olds all in one place. hands down quite a few of those fore mentioned hipsters but my wild guess is that finland doesn't accommodate enough models to be featured anyway .. still feel overwhelmed by how they manage to find all these original people in the capital city of a country that in whole has less people than half of london .. erm

thumbs up again for reposting this text !