January 6, 2011

How the Sartorialist does his work.

Great 7-minute video showing how the wonderful fashion blogger wanders the streets looking for people dressed in a way he wants to show us and how he approaches them about being the subject of his photography. His seemingly candid shots are not taken by surprise. He asks. At 2:25, there's a perfect demonstration of how to obtain permission from a stranger. I'm going to use that!

ADDED: The Sartorialist — using almost no words, only photographs of real people — teaches us far more about what is stylish, what will be stylish, what is good in fashion, and what we should like in fashion than any mainstream fashion magazine. It's truly brilliantly done, and the video shows how the Sartorialist — Scott Schuman — works on natural instinct — and that is, I think, the key to blogging. It's what distinguishes blogging from journalism: the feeling of being in direct contact with a real and distinctive person.

IN THE COMMENTS: rhhardin sends us to his "sartorial commentary":

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Start a blog right there. That's the basis of the first post. Then continue in the "anti-sartorial" vein.

24 comments:

rhhardin said...

My sartorial commentary.

SteveR said...

How ironic that the subject of one of his rare interests happens to be a nice looking young lady.

That technique's been around since at least 1975.

Jennifer said...

Interesting to see him doing his thing.

dont tread 2012 said...

Interesting.

Really underscores change being a constant.

Ann Althouse said...

@rh Hilarious. It suggests a whole anti-sartorialism-based blog.

Richard Dolan said...

I enjoy his stuff. But what struck me in watching the video was his interest in his blog as a first draft of history -- especially his comparison of his blog to the photo record of fashion from 1910, which might not have been fashionable at all.

The self-consciousness of blog-dom as today's replacement for the 'paper of record' is taking off, fast. It's a topic Ann has blogged about before.

This may be the least reported story of the last decade; by the end of this one it will be too tired even to qualify as conventional wisdom.

peter hoh said...

The anti-sartorialist?

It's out there.

Harry said...

When you're going up to an attractive young woman to ask to take her picture, it probably helps that she reads you blog and knows who you are.

However, that said, I used to do a regular illustrated feature for a motorcycle magazine and for reference had to take photos of customized motorcycles. I would wait near the local biker hangout and when a guy came out and headed for a bike I wanted to photograph, I'd quickly explain what I was doing and ask him to pose. These were the gnarliest guys imaginable but they were always cooperative, pleased that I had picked their bike out for special notice.

knox said...

Interesting that he's straight. That surprised me.

I really enjoy his blog, but I tend to avoid the comments--hoo boy, they are over-the-top sycophantic .

John said...

Never heard if the satorialist before, but once I saw the documentary I was inspired to just walk around with a camera now.

Ann Althouse said...

"I really enjoy his blog, but I tend to avoid the comments--hoo boy, they are over-the-top sycophantic."

I wonder what The Sartorialist really thinks of those comments. Surely, he can't have a *taste* for them. They're cloying and the opposite of smart.

They are kind of good at pointing out little details. But it's always in the context of gushing over the detail... a colorful sock or something.

c3 said...

Random comments:
1) the way the video started I expected someone to say "There are eight million stories in the Naked City"
2)So the duct taped boots were on a construction worker not a homeless person
3) How many photographed subject DON'T know who the Sartorialist is or what is blog is?
4) Someone needs to tell him that in certain lights and from a distance his mustache looks like a "Hitler" mustache (not a good fashion statement; unless he considers himself the Fashion Nazi)

Lem said...

That was funny rh..

Ok maybe you, rh, are a genius (and I'm not just gushing in a sycophantic way ;)

wv kingusts - omg

Lyle said...

Too much fashion. I feel so uncool whenever I take a gander at his work.

Irene said...

I also found the segment in which he speaks about capturing the style of the moment intriguing. It brings to mind this story about Chicago street photographer Vivian Maier.

Julia (alias Yulinka Cooks) said...

Of course, there already is a blog about ugly style: The Man Repeller-www.manrepeller.com

All about clothes that disgust and repel men!

ricpic said...

I'm not at all sure that the Sartorialist is saying (silently of course) that this person in this outfit is stylish everytime he posts a photo on his blog. I think he is saying that this person dresses in an interesting way. Having looked in on the Sartorialist many times over the years I can say that the ratio of interesting to stylish ranges from 5 to 1 to as high as 10 to 1. This isn't a criticism. It's just that the bar for stylish is much much higher than the bar for interesting. An interesting dresser catches our eye, a stylish dresser entrances it. Stylish isn't showing an inch of sock between the pants bottom and shoes, or a too tight or too loose jacket or a particular color accent although it may include all of those, stylish is the achievement of harmony (there are possibly infinite harmonies) in an ensemble. The eye is smitten by the rightness of relation between the elements that together make a seamless whole. That is difficult to achieve and is therefore a rare achievement.

Ann Althouse said...

@ricpic it depends on the meaning of the word "stylish." I stand by my statement with the word intended to assert that there is a deeper meaning to "style" than what you are thinking (which I take to be along the lines of: trendy, officially authorized, and expensive).

ricpic said...

If you scroll down the Sartorialist you don't get to a stylish dresser until December 8, 2010: Vicka, Paris. And some of those you pass on the way down to her are quite haute monde.

Penny said...

"The Sartorialist" POPS my mind.

I read his commenters to bring me back to reality.

Deb said...

Irene, THANK YOU for the link to Vivian Maier. That is fascinating.

Omaha1 said...

I think it helps him (the Sartorialist) that he seems to project a non-arrogant, unassuming persona, just sort of a nice average guy. He himself does not have a flamboyant, "fashionable" appearance although I'm sure all of his apparel is carefully thought out and of the highest quality.

rhhardin I love your non-fashion statement. Looks like the sort of thing "real Americans" would find appealing. Add some sweatpants and spray cheese and yer talkin redneck utopia.

ricpic: the Sartorialist blog is not about being "fashion forward" per Tim Gunn but about having a personal style that is expressive and original.

Althouse: I think the "anti-sartorialist" has already been done.

Irene said...

Deb, you're welcome. I grew up in Chicago at that time, so the "blog" brings back a lot of memories.

bagoh20 said...

I don't know what the word for it is, but I must be the opposite of fashionable. Even if I tried very hard, I could not dress in a way typical of what he shows on his site. I think, that even if I traded clothes with one of his subjects, the other guy would still be the object of interest and I would disappear. It must be some invisible force of reflectivity that some have. I don't got it. Besides, I would just never choose the same clothes. They always look dorky to me - the kind of stuff I would always choose not to buy. Is there no place for me? Will I never be noticed?