Behind The Lens: Street-Style Photographers Reveal All!

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Anyone with a camera and a blog may fancy himself a street photographer, but it takes a serious eye for fashion and a POV that stands apart from all the other visual noise on the World Wide Web—knowing one’s way around an actual camera also helps—to turn out the supremely stylin’ shots on some of our favorite bookmarked sites. While the Sartorialist, Tommy Ton, and Mr. Newton give us lust-worthy pics any day of the year, Fashion Week always ups the ante with its dizzying conglomeration of models, editors, and It Girls sporting their interpretations of the latest looks. This season, we tailed a few of our favorite street shooters to see what it’s actually like behind the lens when you’re dealing with the urban outdoors, navigating show schedules, and the occasional celebrity feeding frenzy.


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Tommy Ton takes a shot while a dapper-looking gent chats with Guerre (of Guerreisms) on the steps of Lincoln Center. Besides shooting for their own sites, both photographers are also shooting for several fashion outlets this season. Given street style’s expansive influence in the fashion industry, it’s almost odd to think that 10 years ago, the genre as an online phenomenon didn’t exist.


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Eddie Newton, aka Mr. Newton gives a subject some gentle direction. “Tamu [of All the Pretty Birds] says, 'I’m the guy who sets up great shots for everyone,'” he tells us. Vanessa Jackman concurs. “He does!” She laughs.

Besides getting subjects to stand a certain way without looking too posed, Jackman and Jason Jean of Citizen Couture also tell us about the trial-and-error process of shooting out on the street. Budding photographers take note: Avoid backgrounds with neon signs, and watch out for tree branches. “You have to be careful of the ‘antler effect,’” adds Jackman.


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Fashion meets function: We couldn’t stop obsessing over Street Peeper's Phil Oh’s awesomely chic chain camera strap by Sarah Frances Kuhn.


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Giving truth to the phrase, “It takes one to know one,” these photographers are indeed a stylish bunch themselves. Here, Guerre photographs Tamu McPherson of All the Pretty Birds. It goes without saying that Guerre often stands on the other side of the lens himself.


Describing what catches her eye, McPherson, who’s also the recently-appointed fashion director for Grazia.it tells us that she shoots all styles. “If someone really embodies a particular style, and they do it well, then I’ll find it interesting, regardless of whether or not it’s my own. But I do love denim, I love prints, and when I write about them, it probably comes through a little more.”


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Every day there’s a handful of stylish stunners that send the photographers chasing and leave the rest of us oglers filled with more than just a little bit of envy. Russian freelance journalist Miroslava Duma was a crowd favorite this season, hitting the mark on a regular basis.


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At Alexander Wang’s show last Saturday, the spacious lot out front and the perfectly spread-out entrances of almost every fashion heavy you could think of made for some prime photo ops. Things surged into an all-out frenzy with the arrival of Alicia Keys, which created an interesting moment defining the lines between street style, celebrity idolatry, and taking photos because why the hell not? Jackman and Jean hung back, along with Guerre who had told us earlier, “I don’t run. I never run.”

Oh emerged from the crowd, exhausted. “I got sucked in,” he said.


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McPherson handles the drizzle outside of Prabal Gurung’s show with impressive handwork while Craig Arend of Altamira: Models Off Duty looks on.
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Model-slash-blogger Hanneli and Candice Lake, a former model herself, know how to travel light—and stylishly, too. Their daily packing list: Camera, sunglasses, smartphone, schedule, and a hot new bag.


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Once a show starts, there’s usually a 10- to 15-minute window when everyone enjoys some downtime to review their shots, look over schedules, and socialize. Outside Helmut Lang, Guerre, Arend, and Jean (background) consider their next locations. Everyone’s free to go where they want, but when it comes to deciding, the majority often manages to sway the vote (especially if there’s lunch involved, or shared cab rides).


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Street fashion O.G. Bill Cunningham was on the scene and clicking away outside of Victoria Beckham and Derek Lam on Sunday—he seemed to be zeroing in on stripes.


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McPherson chats up Taylor Tomasi-Hill before snapping a few shots outside DKNY. At a crazy-crowded scene like this one—there was a taxicab parked in the middle of the street as part of the show’s backdrop—showgoers typically make a beeline for cover. To that end, it helps to have a pre-existing relationship, when it comes to requesting photos.


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Arend (in yellow): “Guerre, I should take your picture. You look good today.” Guerre: “Don’t insult me. I look good every day.” Oh, zing! He’s joking, but it’s true.


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Jean gets the lowdown on Duma’s head-to-toe neon look by Christopher Kane.


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Guerre and McPherson take turns shooting model Audi Martel in the sunlight. “People ask me all the time if we get competitive,” says Lake. “And the thing is, everyone has their own aesthetic and something that they’re focusing on, so it hardly ever matters if you’re taking a shot of the same person. It’s almost always going to come out looking different.”


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A group shot on Lincoln Center’s steps.

With regards to Fashion Weeks in other cities, the majority tends to favor Paris and New York equally, while some prefer London for its laidback, more-relaxed pace. “Paris can be maddening because it has so much more of an international crowd. It brings out a different group of photographers, as well—not just street style,” explains Arend.

“Being in New York for Fashion Week is always an exciting time,” says Jackman. “You’re energized and happy to see everyone again—it almost feels like the first day back at school.” This season in particular, with the memories of 9/11 looming on its 10th anniversary, it was an exhilarating time to be out on the city streets.