homage to sartorialist

Fash­ion” as an indus­try is inti­mate­ly con­nect­ed to brand mar­ket­ing, and in this sense seems almost by con­struc­tion self-negat­ing.  If you’re being sold a “look”, then it’s not your own, and there­fore you’re a con­sumer, not a pro­duc­er.  Just as T‑shirts are most­ly ads (from which it fol­lows that one should be paid to wear them, not the oth­er way round), brand­ed fash­ion objects are also, visu­al­ly re-tweet­ing “pra­da!” or “zeg­na!” in a solip­sis­tic loop.  They’re not even ads “for” any­thing oth­er than them­selves!, sort of the sub-min­i­mal life form or pri­on of human cul­ture.  A vio­lence.

Then, a year ago, Adri­enne sent me a link to the Sar­to­ri­al­ist, a beau­ti­ful blog by a fash­ion pho­tog­ra­ph­er gone rogue, tak­ing impromp­tu pic­tures of peo­ple on the street.  (Though hard­ly obscure– he’s been doing this since 2005, and has been list­ed by Time among the top 100 design influ­encers.)  Usu­al­ly, though not always, the sub­jects aren’t the sort you’d find mod­el­ing on a run­way.  And usu­al­ly, each sub­ject is in some way total­ly arrest­ing.  What makes the sub­jects of Sar­to­ri­al­ist’s pho­tos so spe­cial is the way they cre­ate visu­al pres­ences that express some­thing with ampli­tude, some­thing with intense them-ness.  In this sense it’s the exact oppo­site of fash­ion as I’d always con­ceived it.  Whether the mate­ri­als used come from the world of brand­ed fash­ion or not– and they some­times do– is irrel­e­vant.  They’re just that– mate­ri­als.

A per­son, a thing, a com­po­si­tion, a what­ev­er, that is pre­cise­ly what it is, is beau­ti­ful.  Like the White Stripes’ “Can­non”.  Maybe once every few days I see a per­son or thing on the street that gives me that feel­ing.  And now we always have a cam­era in our pock­et, right?  I’m not Scott Schu­man, but I can still give it a try.  Here’s some­thing inan­i­mate from a few weeks ago.

spot­ted on a bik­er­ack in west­lake

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