When the fashion week’s marathon is over and we can finally get one's breath and look at the street style pictures, there are very few true talents that capture not just the outfits but personalities. Adam Katz Sinding is definitely one of those who stands behind remarkable photographs from the streets of the worlds’s fashion capitals. Founder of Le 21ème – ‘a portal into the lives of others’ (which is ‘NOT a Street Style Blog’) and a regular contributor to magazines like Vogue, W and T. Here he tells us about his job: from his first day as a photographer to inspiration and why he often cuts off his subject’s heads on his photos.
I NEVER INTERNED. I’M TOO IMPATIENT, and probably too arrogant to “learn” from someone else. It’s a horrible trait, but I like to figure things out myself, when possible. As far as how it started: My father was a hobby photographer and would go on very long hikes and take amazing panoramic landscape photos. I thought that they were so cool. He passed away when I was 11, and I inherited his equipment. I never did much with it as I was too impatient to wait for film to be developed. In 2007 I bought my first Nikon DSLR and began shooting in abandoned buildings in Seattle, where I lived at the time. Later I bought a Leica M8 and decided I wanted to shoot people in the streets. This was October 2007, and there weren’t too many people doing it. I just thought it sounded like a nice excuse to meet new people, as I’m bad at that otherwise. Then I moved to New York on December 31st… and here we are.
HAVE I ALWAYS THOUGHT I WOULD MAKE A LIVING OUT OF TAKING PHOTOGRAPHS? Absolutely not. I used to work in hotels, and I thought I’d do that for the rest of my life. Thank god that didn’t pan out…10 years in hotels, and now I’m a photographer…weird.
MY HERO IN PHOTOGRAPHY? Probably Diane Arbus. She led such a strange life, and her interactions with the “others” of our world must have been so exciting.
THE CURRENT EQUIPMENT IS EXCELLENT, and it is so intuitive. I can set my camera up and hand it to you, and your photo can look very nice, even if it’s your first time. I think that not everyone has the same view though, and this is what sets each photographer apart. Our “brand” is our view.
What we choose to shoot, where we choose to stand, etc. It’s all about the photographer, but the camera is still very important.
MY FIRST DAY (AS A STREET STYLE PHOTOGRAPHER) was in Seattle, and it was not scary. I shot people on the street…not the “icons” you see all over the place on the internet. It was nice training.
During Fashion week I really don’t choose. It’s subconscious. I’m just shooting before I can think about it. It sounds silly, but it’s really true. My mind is crazy, and if I start to look and think and choose, I just won’t shoot.
MY MUSE? Many people. All of the models, and all of the French. No one stands out especially, as I try to keep an open mind.
ATTITUDE MAKES A GOOD STREET STYLE PHOTOGRAPHER. Forget the clothes and the face. It’s all about personality. There are so many people attending the shows who are dressed so well but can’t express themselves. They don’t end up as great photos in the end. Then you’ll see someone in the most simple outfit, with confidence, and it’s just so right.
STREET STYLE IS TOO COMMERCIAL. It’s all about getting the who’s whos. This is why I often cut off the most well known people’s heads in my photos. That shouldn’t matter. You should enjoy the outfit, the feeling, the attitude regardless of WHO the person is. I’m not a paparrazi, and so many people focus too much on catching the “celebs” of the industry.
WILL I EVER GET TIRED OF TAKING PICTURES? Man…I really hope not!
Photography by Adam Katz Sinding.