Street-Style Photography: Is This The End?

01__55a1880_MarkIantosca-(1)Photographed by Mark Iantosca.
Goodbye, street style; hello... “peep style?”
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That’s what The Guardian dubs a new kind of street-fashion photography: a more authentic, raw portrayal of street life that eschews the posed, perfectly lit, glossy-approved snaps by bloggers like The Sartorialist, Garance Doré, and Tommy Ton.
The article came out the same day that the Sartorialist’s Scott Schuman and French photographer/illustrator Garance Doré (the world’s preeminent street-style-blogging power couple) announced their break-up after seven years together. Is this the end of an era?
The Guardian cites David Luraschi (a.k.a “the Sartorialist of sadness”), who photographs his subjects — young and old, fashionable and unfashionable — from behind, and the London-based Alex Sturrock, whose subjects (a young girl with bangs obscuring her face, wearing a pink turtleneck and white coat that matches her pet ferret, a dad in khaki pants and a polo, an elderly woman in a floral kerchief) are almost anti-fashion.
And then, of course, there’s Humans of New York, the immensely popular blog photographed by Brandon Stanton, who sets out to capture every single person living in the Big Apple, and posts their photos along with quotes or anecdotes. (Right now, he’s in Iraq, and his images are beautiful and sad and blistering.)
Though these aren’t necessarily “fashion” blogs, the fashion world is taking notice. Vogue, for its coverage of its gala for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, for example, hired not its usual New York Fashion Week street-style blogger Phil Oh (of Street Peeper) to document the evening, but Stanton. And, there once was a time when this kind of coverage was street-style photography: Look at Amy Arbus’ influential “On the Street” column for the Village Voice in the 1970s, where she chronicled Downtown New York’s weirdest denizens (she snapped Madonna and Anna Sui before either made it big). And, of course, there’s the king himself, Bill Cunningham, who has been documenting what real New Yorkers wear for the Times for decades.
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In truth, The Sartorialist and his brand of “street” photography will probably never go away. (His blog is firmly entrenched in our Feedly, at least.) But it will, in time, evolve to make room for other, less polished kinds of self-expression, fashion, and style. Which can only be a good thing.
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