I’ve been a fan of The Sartorialist blog for a long time. So when a companion book was published collecting some of the great photography from the site, I rushed out to buy it – literally was at the bookshop looking for it the day it was released. Why am I a fan? Because you won’t find a lot of super models in Scott Schuman’s book or on his blog. The Sartorialist is less about fashion, more about style.
The photographs are of random (and some familiar) people he sees on the street – taken on the spot in a composition style that always reminded me of August Sander. And it says a lot about his work that designers use Schuman’s street photos for inspiration – versus his doing photo shoots with models dressed head to toe in the latest look (though he does some of that too).
And now The Sartorialist, in book form, gives you 512 pages of people looking fabulous without having to turn on your computer.
I could gush about Scott Schuman’s work for hours, but he explains what he’s doing better than I ever could:
I saw this gentleman on Fifth Avenue around 56th Street. Instantly I could tell from the Italian cut and sophisticated colour and fabric of his jacket that he was special. I stopped him and asked if I could take his photo, and he looked at me suspiciously and replied, ‘Why do you want to take a picture of me? I am a bald fat man.’ Now, I am a very polite and positive person, so I started to reply that, ‘No, you are not …’; but then I caught myself and instead replied, ‘Yes, but you are a well-dressed bald, fat man.’
That caught him off guard. I followed up my first response with, ‘So, is that southern Italian tailoring?’ It was, and I knew it was, and my recognition of that was what won him over. A longtime friend of mine, David Allen, once told me that one of the basic needs of people is to be understood. I think that the fact that I seemed to understand this man and what he was trying to communicate through his style is why he agreed to let me take his photo.
He goes on to talk about how he received an overwhelming response to the photos of this well dressed man after posting them. Other men, with similar body types, were printing the photos off their computers and taking them to stores because they wanted style – but didn’t have a blueprint to follow.
Normally, I’d post some of my favorites here. Instead, check out The Sartorialist and find your own. Scott Schuman also has a monthly article in GQ Magazine, with more of the same. My favorite, though, is still the blog.