Heads up, street-style connoisseurs: this week, Scott Schuman, founder of the influential blog the Sartorialist, will finally pay a visit to the Boston area, hitting Wellesley College to speak and sign copies of his second book, The Sartorialist: Closer. Although it will be a short visit, Schuman says he likes to hit the streets to shoot wherever he goes (so be sure to look your best). Before his arrival, we chatted about fashion week, Tumblr, and his stealthy side.
You now get 14 million page views per month. Does that make it harder to capture sincere, unguarded moments? I'm good at being stealthy. I'm not, you know, the biggest person in the world, so I'm very good at sneaking around quietly. For a few photographs that I want to be more posed, set images, I think it's actually now a little bit easier because people are more relaxed and excited to have their picture taken. . . . But sometimes nervousness and self-consciousness can be very sweet in a photograph.
As a blogger myself, I sometimes cringe when I stumble upon my earlier photographs and posts. Does that happen to you? I've always thought of what I do as a sort of personal diary, photographically and through my comments as well, and I never feel bad because I understand who I was at the time. . . . Now my photographs are much better, but I think the only way you can see that they've evolved is by keeping the other ones up.
Do you actually read the comments on your blog? I have two assistants, and we go through the comments. The comments are very important. With the popularity of Tumblr and a lot of the blogs going in that Tumblr way, where there's not as much input or comments or questions, it's just a flow of images. Rather than go away from comments, we're going after them more. . . . But writing doesn't come as easily for me; it takes a lot more for me to sit down and think of what I want to say.
It seems like you started this whole wave of people who dress, especially during fashion week, just to get photographed by you. I've been going to shows for a long time, even before the Sartorialist, and the truth is, it's fashion! That's why I knew that fashion week was a place I could go to take pictures, because people have always been dressing up. Editors dressing up to impress other editors, Vogue trying to out-Vogue Harper's Bazaar — there's always that element. I think that the outer world now has a little bit of a better sense of what fashion week is like. It was always a big dress-up parade.
Schuman will be at the Alumnae Hall Auditorium at Wellesley College (106 Central St, Wellesley) for a free public talk on Monday, December 10, from 7 to 9 pm.
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