Professional Blogger Spotlight: Mr. Newton


Tell us a little bit about Mr. Newton.


Mr. Newton is my blog, started it in September 2009. Having spent the previous two years doing a street fashion photo blog for a trend forecasting company, I decided that it was time to do my own thing. It was a bit scary at first – flying without a net. Things are going well now though. I'm based in New York and my focus is on street style – I shoot the cool girls in downtown Manhattan and in Brooklyn. I don't really shoot dude style – only girls. I also travel internationally and shoot and sometimes shoot photos at fashion parties and might mention some music that I'm listening to or talk about a great sandwich that I ate – just to keep things interesting.

How do you monetize Mr. Newton?


If you run a blog then you are a small business owner – and I strongly believe that the key to any successful business is diversification. So I try to look at things broadly and monetize my blog in a variety of ways. Magazines contact me about licensing images that they've seen on Mr. Newton…also, fashion websites and magazines contract with me to shoot images expressly for them, both street style and editorial…I also work with advertising agencies and brands on various street style-related projects and campaigns.

What role does social media play in your life?

I'm lukewarm on social media. I'm not on Facebook – many of the things that can be done there (connecting with friends, posting photos, status updates) I'm already doing elsewhere. I love Twitter though – I've always been a bit of a mass-texter and an overshare-er! I get really excited about a pizza I ate or a movie I saw or a vintage store I stumbled on and I love telling people about it. Twitter is really great for sharing (and reading) links and tips and news. I think it's best to go easy on the social media self-promotion though – it's like the best talk show guests realize that they're there first and foremost to be entertaining and witty…and if they are, then maybe we'll sit through a brief clip of the movie they're promoting too.


How has blogging affected your career?


It's become my career. Street style blogging has been my full-time profession since mid-2007 – with no trust fund or savings account or other source of income subsidizing it either I'm proud to say! The main way that blogging has affected my career as a photographer though has been the way it's flipped the dynamic in the industry. As an up-and-coming photographer, you used to have to approach the magazines with your portfolio and pitches – now you just put your photos up online and the magazines come to you. It's not quite as simple as that of course – but blogging has definitely taken the toll road that used to lead to Vogue and Bazaar and added an HOV lane, so to speak.

What is the most important advice you would give to aspiring bloggers?

Like most things, you'll get out of it what you put into it. I think the key to blogging success is really just working hard – being consistent and posting regularly, discovering and developing your unique voice that readers can't get anywhere else. I also think it's important to keep a sharp eye on quality and to aim for excellence in your work. Wanna have photos in Vogue? Then start posting Vogue-worthy photos. It sounds a little far-fetched but it actually works.

What first got you interested in creating a blog devoted primarily to photography?

What first got me interested in photo blogging was the very early days of party photo blogging – back when thecobrasnake was called Polaroid Scene and Last Night's Party was first starting out. Within weeks of those two blogs starting I was very excited about them and had a strong feeling that this was going to become a big thing. I was aware of people like Patrick McMullan and Bill Cunningham who have been doing style snapshots and party photos for decades – and I really respect both of them – but there was an energy and a rawness on Polaroid Scene and LNP that was electric. Even though I've mostly gone in a daytime street style direction with my own photography, I try to bring some of the energy and edge of party photos to my street style. This means that I usually prefer to shoot cool girls rather than notables and editors.


What photographers have influenced your work or your thinking about photography?


There are lots of photographers whose work I respect – including some of my contemporaries in the street style game. Two that I get really excited about though – and whose work has influenced my thinking in all sorts of ways – are Weegee and Diane Arbus. They both made great use of background and context and seemed adept at finding the unusual among the usual. They could walk down a crowded block in Times Square or at Coney Island and find the one situation or the one person or the one neon sign worth shooting. It's really odd and amazing and almost a curse I would imagine, to have an artistic eye as they both had. While other people are looking up at a burning building, you'd be spotting the kid in the crowd who's crying because he can't find his mother. You spend your life looking left while everyone else is looking right.


Any advice for aspiring street style bloggers?


Don't be afraid to approach total strangers and ask them for a photo – it's not nearly as awkward as you might think. Most people will be flattered and happy to oblige.


You can follow Mr. Newton on Twitter here.



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5 Responses

  1. Shanna TL

    Very informative and inspiring post. The advice: “Wanna have photos in Vogue? Then start posting Vogue-worthy photos.” motivates me to step up my game. Thank You!