Scott Schuman On His New Book ‘Closer,’ And The Future Of Street Style

After the success of his first book, street style photographer extraordinaire, The Sartorialist‘s Scott Schuman, has a follow up book coming out August 29, called Closer, because he is “getting closer to the niche of the type of people I want to shoot.”

He spoke with Harper's Bazaar about his book, his blog, the future of street style photography, and style trends — and we plucked some of the quotes we found especially interesting for you here:

Harper's Bazaar: What do you see as the future of street style photography?

Scott Schuman: I think the thing that’s tricky and why it hasn’t taken the next big step forward is because photographers now are going to the shows and they’re trying to shoot these “star editors.” You know when I started people knew who the editors in chief were and a few others, but nobody knew Giovanna Battaglia or Anna Dello Russo or those people. I was really shooting what I was responding to. And Giovanna ended up becoming somebody. And Anna Dello Russo ended up becoming somebody. I think that the part that’s holding people back now is that they basically only go to the shows. There’s very few of these street blogs that go back to their city, wherever that is, and shoot. People just get very obsessed with getting a picture of those known names, as opposed to really speaking from the heart and shooting from the heart. Having the bravery to shoot a “third row” person or not going to the shows and shooting somewhere else. For street style to be successful, photographers need to shoot in a more unique way to them.

HB: Was there anything new that was catching your eye style-wise?

SS: I guess the way I think about it is, I’ve been in the fashion business for a long time and it’s so intuitive, it’s so second nature that I don’t really think about that when I’m shooting. When I see something in person that I want to shoot I never ask ‘is that in style, is that out of style?’ I think the proof is that people talk about how the internet has sped up fashion and that fashion is moving faster, and yet my first book keeps selling and a lot of those pictures are 5 and 6 years old.

On the middle class and Kanye West:

SS: You look at someone like me or Kanye [West] who were just a bunch of middle class kids who used style — it’s one of the things that moves you through society, moves you up through society. It’s like what you’re seeing with Moscow, and the same with what you’re going to be seeing with China, where they really didn’t have much of a middle class before.

You can read the whole article at Harper's Bazaar.


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5 Responses

  1. Sarah's Real Life

    Schuman’s a graduate of Indiana Univ., which automatically makes him cool in my book. 🙂 But I thought he was awesome before I knew we shared an alma mater. I love his photos, and I love his subjects. Like he said in this interview, he doesn’t worry about whether the subject is famous, or whether what they’re wearing is “in.” In fact, sometimes I think the outfits are totally off the wall ridiculous, but the point is that they’re unique. I hope he keeps doing what he’s doing for a long time!

    Sarah’s Real Life

  2. Toni Styles

    Amazing talent! I do love how he has a woman of colour on the cover this time; I know it will boost the confidence of young girls who see the image. I respect Scott Schuman for his professionalism and undeniable passion for photography.
    Looking forward to the book! <3

  3. TerranceJ

    I think I stumbled onto The Sartorialist blog a bit before his notoriety came to pass. For my tastes, Schuman’s remark on street style photography is well-made. I really did think at one point that I was the only one who felt this way, in regards to the point of photographing A-lister’s and well-to-do’s. There is so much young talent to come across on the internet and I’d almost argue that publications – and bloggers alike – should localize their efforts to find inspiration that’s a bit more close to the vest. It’s all about longevity – finding what works, building your way up and setting a standard of success that based on your own interpretations. I’m really pumped to check out his next book though.

  4. acrewd

    I love this and I want to read more–will need to check out the book. I think street style is so unique because even through the lens and the computer screen it’s common to feel that “striking” feeling that originally drew someone to take the shot of the subject. It matters much less if that person is on trend or if they are wearing certain labels but rather about that feeling that is invoked and wanting to share that with others. Those are the photographs I love, the ones that make me feel like I looked up from reading a book, while waiting for the bus, at just the right moment to see someone eye catching walk by.

  5. Whitney

    First off, hello everyone! This is my first post and I am a newbie. Anyway, I LOVE that that picture is the cover of book. I pinned that photo a while ago. Love turbans.
    Bon Chic Bonne Vivante