Some summers ago, a giant computing company released an ad campaign about people who uses current technologies to create new sorts of job that would simply not exist otherwise. Nothing linked with high end chips nor high power calculators but rather creative use of what was already existing and available to everyone. Mr. Schumman, also known as the Sartorialist is one of them.
His idea? Going out and look for fashion in the streets of NY, Paris or Milano, shooting regular people with a creative mind for styling composition and share it to the world.
Besides giving back power to the end users of fashion, Scott was creatively using street photography and make something new out of century old street photography rules…
I thought I could join the effort and modestly participate in collecting these kind of images. When you live in Trier at the lost corner of Germany, where no decent connection to a fashion metropolis is left to you, you need to think creatively.
Is Trier and it’s region filled with fashionistas? Hmmm no… You surely find people here and there but there is no critical mass. In fact, most edgy people go for shopping elsewhere at some remote shopping paradise. The fashion supplies are here limited with a focus on selling what sells, while alternative thinkers tend to struggle to convince a local audience. Here, original = expensive (mostly).
The ironic title SaarTrierialist came while confronting face to face this terrible TRUTH.
Partly a collection of nice people, partly a celebration of local identity trying to engage more global codes with its tiny voice.
The first picture came out with a desire of not letting go a guy who obviously had dressed to impress on a busy downtown Saturday afternoon. I showed him a few pics from my phone, told him I was willing to start this larger project… The man felt somehow flattered, accepted and took the pose with the promise of the final product being delivered in his mailbox.
With an acceptance rate of more than 75% of the people I asked, I always considered this project a success. People saying yes was the sign that it pleased them to be recognised as such. I remember saying to a lady that I liked the tiny “risks” she took, embedding different original pieces of jewellery, colors and styles. I told her that one could really see she made a little extra effort there to be fancy, not just the standard way. Her kind answer was “I m glad someone eventually recognised this”. Now I am sure I wasn’t the only one, but doesn’t that please you when someone comes to you to tell you how cool you look?
To me It always felt like I was celebrating this along with them.
A couple of months later I got contacted by a local magazine who offered me to work with them, featuring about 6 pictures per trimester. This brought the level of seriousness to a much higher level.
I have collected nearly about hundred of those portraits all taken in the streets of Trier and Luxembourg within the last 3 years.
So! Now you would like to do something similar? Here are a few tips for you:
1. Choose your lense wisely: Most of the shots were taken with a 70-200mm f/2.8 or 50mm f/1.4 (Full frame) – Temptation for always opening max for bokeh is big but remember it needs to look sharp… f/4 is safe zone in my experience.
2. When you see someone you like, just go and ask them. JUST GO and ASK THEM! You would be surprise how often they say yes. Some of them actually became very good friends of mine. So be friendly without being a cheese and everything should be alright!
3. Carry release forms with you. No release forms means no possibility for publication. You will find a ton of them for free online, ready to print. I occasionally used EASY RELEASE for IOS: Helpful.
4. Be patient, anticipate, scout and go where stylish people are; wandering all day long in empty streets is anything but joy.
5. Make sure their E-mail address is correctly written and send them the pics… It s a minimal requirement!
Share your discoveries with us! Inject your own ideas into it and show us your good work. The more you do it, the easier.
You will find an extract of that collection of smiley people at http://saartrierialist.blogspot.com/feel free to have a look and leave a comment, the people who are pictured may probably read them 😉
Have a lot of fun outside!