Street Style Photography Jumps The Shark

- - The Future

Wow, that didn’t take long. I was really digging the idea of street style, á la the sartorialist but this video makes me think it’s a sign of the apocalypse rather than a powerful social media tool:

There Are 80 Comments On This Article.

  1. scott Rex Ely

    Hey ,at least they can actually stand in a public street and still take pictures.
    Maybe the photo righteous will be glorified after all.

  2. seems more like paparazzi, no? when we capture our people on the street, it’s much more intimate (actually, no other photographer is around).

  3. Other than the Bill Cunningham sighting, that was one of the worst watches for me in awhile.

  4. The video is made during Fashion Week in New York. It’s not an every day occurrence. Of course there will be lots of photographers on the street. What do you expect?

    • Exactly. This has nothing to do with the work of streetstyle bloggers like Bill Cunningham or Scott Schuman at all. “Fashion show paparazzi” would be more accurate.

      And even it were, those groups of photographers are much smaller (and better dressed!) than the hordes that show up at sporting events, political events, news events, etc. with their monster zooms and matching vests.

      • There is street style photography during Fashion Week in NYC. And there is street style photography the rest of the year and everywhere else. It seems perfectly sensible that a big fashion event in NYC will attract and concentrate photographers whose work or blogs depend on fashion and street style. This is why “jumps the shark” in the title makes no sense to me. It seems that people admire Bill Cunningham and Scott Schuman, but are critical of not-so-famous photographers doing street style photography around a big fashion event. Photography “in packs” makes us uncomfortable, but that’s life in a world with many media sources. It’s the same for any big event in fashion, sports, politics, etc.

    • I’m not a fan of Winogrand’s street photography (a bit too aggressive for my liking). But you make an accurate point about what is being shown here.

      The point of street photography is something the clothes rails with cameras in this film all appear to have missed. The shows at fashion weeks, intriguing though they are, are most assuredly not a major focus of street style; or of street photography.

  5. Obviously these people (whoever they are…and who are they, exactly??) have witnessed the success and popularity of Scott Schuman/The Sartorialist, or Bill Cunningham, and they want a piece of that action…

    So yeah, it seems like nothing’s ‘sacred’ anymore turf-wise (if it ever was), and everyone and their freaking mother has a high-end DSLR (ergo, everyone and their freaking mother is “a photographer”).

  6. yes, winogrand would find this funny….

    I think the lack of film cost has made this art form friendly to the non-crazies, as you had to essentially throw away dollars for a while to get any good at film-based street photography, even if you worked in a lab and counld develop film for free…

    Strange how most of the old-school street photographers I’ve known didn’t use SLR’s…. leicas, canonet QL 17’s, Olympus SP, various 120 TLR’s…. anything except an SLR due to the ability to see more “real-like-life” through a different viewfinder…. and the in-your-face-ness of an SLR…

    I still know a number of winogrand/Cartier-Bresson mindset street photographers who use various non SLR’s, even if digital…. more like some Olympus 4/3rds with external viewfinders,etc…

    ….and mostly wide lenses…. not the fashion, but the moment of visual and metaphysical interaction between people, environment, ironic signs in the backgroud, etc… and deep focus is what people WANT, not the infamous 5D F1.8 effect so prevelent…

  7. “….portraiture in four frames…” This is not portraiture. This is event photography.

    • It might be portraiture but I don’t know how that label gives the work any more merit. Recently I went to get a new picture ID and the lady there took a portrait of me. Also, yesterday I went to have a look at an apartment I’m trying to rent and I did some interior photography in six frames with my iPhone. Doesn’t make it noteworthy.

    • Bored By SS

      Exactly, if it is portraiture then it’s pretty bad portraiture so they should be careful what standard they want to be measured against as photographers.

      In most cases it seems to be a snapshot that records what someone was wearing on the street and might be interesting to a fashion historian but won’t be terribly interesting to those interested in photography.

      The paparazzi style of it leaves me cold and I can’t imagine how it could be a satisfying style of shooting.

  8. they are fashion paparazzi, except the people in front of the lens like it for the most part. these people are not ‘photographers’ IMHO.

  9. Right, street is all about a bunch of photographers hanging out in a group on a corner and waiting for someone interesting to walk by. NOT! This vid is about fashion shooting on the street. That doesn’t make it street photography. It makes it commercial clap trap.

  10. scott Rex Ely

    I’m starting to think a CPS/ Taco truck would be good to have at these events.
    You know, some place to try out a new lens and get a kickass Gordito with salsa verde. . .

  11. FWIW, the title of the article is “Street Style Photography”, not “Street Photography” or “Fashion Photography”. I am no expert, but I do know of several “Street Style” blogs. Usually, the writers of such blogs feature images they have taken of fashionable people on the streets of major cities and then they write about the clothes/accessories the featured person is wearing.

    I can imagine that shooting the fashion world’s editors and models would give a good boost to such a blog, so I can understand the motivation for these ‘photographers’. However, it seems clear that they are not aspiring to photographic greatness, they are simply creating content for their blog posts. I could certainly be wrong, but I don’t believe they are there to compete with journalists and event photographers.

    • Seems that way. Even the legendary ones like Bill did the same thing. He hung out at favorite watering holes and put himself in the right place at the right time.

      However, hunting in packs does put a crimp in getting original pictures. I’m surprised none of them worked with a phone or ipad if they wanted the scoop on all of them if it were just for blogging. haha

    • That’s exactly the point I was going to make, so thanks for making it first. It’s definitely an important one. I was ready to be all self-righteous about the misuse of the term “street photography” until I realized that what they were doing had nothing whatever to do with street photography (other than perhaps that it happens on a street).

      In the context of fashion photography, though, I can absolutely see the appeal of street style photography, at least for the photographer. I can only imagine the sense of freedom that comes from getting out of the ultra-controlled environment of a studio fashion shoot and just seeing what happens on the street.

      That said, it’s a bit of a shame that the resulting photos are so lackluster. Add to that the somewhat precious talk about the virtues of shooting on the street, which comes off something like a religious convert zealously preaching to the choir, and it does get a bit too much.

  12. Dear Australian fashion victim with the silly, large shades. No, it’s not portraiture. It’s a snap.

  13. This is so tragically Hip to wanna be hipster/richkids/ghettokids or as the chap sez. only the passionate ones will survive and others will fall to the wayside…look what you started Bill Cunningham~! please don’t call this photography , this is just young people searching for a thing of their own thats not derivative or appropriated or already been done . The narcissism is just so rampant with technology and the lower middle class….let them shoot cake~!

  14. Mr. Polinsky

    I think the biggest problem here is that someone shot video of this, edited that video, put it up on youtube, and nymag gave life to it. Really it’s not that important. And yes, it really does feel like the end.

  15. I don’t believe this video proves anything one way or another. This is not street photography. It’s more like a mix of paparazzi meets psycho event coverage. From a photographer’s viewpoint, it doesn’t look very satisfying or enjoyable. Or does the fact that it’s labeled Street Style mean that it’s something separate from Street Photography? In terms of commerce, it does hype the event to see hordes of photographers congregating.

    I also don’t believe that this is what Bill Cunningham does. Not at all. Why? Because Bill Cunningham to me is a fashion historian with a camera. It’s the fashion trends as they reflect fashion history that excite Bill more than the photography aspect. The recent documentary on him make this abundantly clear.

  16. I find it interesting the style of fotografie is considered street style. I would consider it fashion snapshots. I know they are trying to capture the day wear the influential in the fashion industry wear to and from events. If the goal is to “get a snapshot with no body else in the frame”, it is far from street fotografie. I’m surprise more weren’t using iPhones and the hipstamtic ap.

  17. I remember seeing groups like this during the Spring fashion week, I just don’t see how it can be fulfilling to snap away the same photos as the group of the same people over and over again. It also seems like some people just like to hang out in front of the shows and never actually make it in. Reminds me of Peacocks.

  18. Fashion is eating itself.

    Non-stop exposure of everything everywhere – A.D.D. & constant consumer interaction. Runway shows from Select-Trade-Show to Fashion-Entertainment It’s all over bar the shouting. At least in terms of what fashion was…

    I miss the times when fashion was elite.

  19. This type of photography definitely seems to be its own thing…not Bill Cunningham…not street photography. But who cares? They’re having fun; they’re passionate; there’s a community built around it. They don’t seem to be hurting anyone–at least in this clip; the subjects all seem willing.

    I live near Yellowstone Park and it reminds me of the pack of people who sit in the Lamar Valley tracking/waiting for wolves (Wolf Watchers). They’re all comrades who sit around waiting for a glimpse of something special, and when a wolf shows up…all the shutters start clicking rapid fire. Kind of like “four second portraiture”.

  20. I love that photo they show at the end, the buildup is so philosophical and the photo so so boring

  21. As a photo-assistaint, willing to find my place and emerge in a highly-competitive industry like photography, i’m happy to see so many peoples wasting their time like that.

  22. A lot of these comments really just sound like pretentious people bitching about other people they deem to be pretentious, and everyone feeling like their pretentiousness is being threatened. There have been trends during every stage of photography’s evolution, and there always will be. None of us know where this incredibly quickly evolving medium is headed. “The Sartorialist” style photography will eventually become so over saturated that it won’t be cool anymore, and everyone will move on to something else, until it cycles around again. Everyone stop complaining and getting so butt hurt and just chill out.

  23. Looks more like most urban fitness clubs, other than the only lifting going on is cameras and camera bags. Might become the next trend in singles groups.

  24. To me this is like a new form of advanced shopping….

    If only there was away for these photographers to have
    a SMS to their smartphones directing them that the
    picture they just took is now on sale.

  25. Furthermore..

    Can someone please direct me to some of Bill Cunningham’s work that is good??

    I notice a lot of fan boys and I realize he is a ‘legend’ — However his images are boring. Maybe I’m just ignorant with fashion.