Friday, March 1, 2013

Hanging Out At the Intersection of Art, Photography, Fashion, and Your Life

A kind of a crazy thing happened the other day--a friend sent me a message on Instagram "@watsonpayne I'm pretty sure this is you!" and when I went to the image what did I find but, yes indeed, my very own backside walking down the street. Crazy! The person (a fashion stylist, no less!) who had taken the photo was very sweet and complimentary about my outfit. For a minute I couldn't get over it--the fact that someone had seen me and liked my clothes and photographed me, and then the perhaps even weirder fact that my friend had stumbled upon it. So funny, the world we live in. I guess some people might be freaked out by this, but I have to admit I was just hugely flattered.

Way back when Mabel was a tiny baby we used to use this perhaps rather chic blue rucksack as a diaper bag when we had her in the baby carrier--and once Bill was stopped in Union Square by the street fashion blogger from BoyishTV who asked to take its photo (if you look real close you can see Mabel's yellow sleeve and orange hat peeking around from where she's positioned on Bill's chest).

Another time I was visiting Street Fashion Style, the site of some authors of mine (whose book on how to take street fashion photographs is coming out this Fall and is going to be [self promotion alert] amazing!), and who should happen to be the very first pic at the top of the page that day but my adorable pal Amy.

Years back, when I first discovered the Sartorialist, I could not get enough of shots like the one above (no one I know)--regular people looking both really chic and gloriously real. I'm less interested in the off-duty-models and outside-the-tents shots that dominate most street style blogs today. And I've now realized the reason--a big part of the magic of street fashion photography, for me, is the intersection of art and life inherent to it. High-flown things like fashion and photography interconnected with pedestrian things like city streets and, well, pedestrians. Not just that it could be you or someone you know who gets photographed, but the fact that any regular (ie non-fashion-insider) person who has their face and clothes and body photographed on the street is simultaneously living their normal life and engaging with these other discourses of visual expression that we tend to think of as residing above us rather than among us. Love that.

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