The Sartorialist's Scott Schuman Creates His Own Reality
Scott Schuman was just a man with a camera when he created his blog, The Sartorialist, in 2005.
His street style photography site has since exploded, and his work even resides in the permanent collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. On June 4, he will also receive the Council of Fashion Designers of America's Media Award along with his girlfriend and fellow style blogger Garance Doré.
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However, Schuman has as many detractors as advocates (including tongue-in-cheek ones like those at The Sartorial Zoo, where his photos are paired alongside baby animals), and they are unafraid to speak their mind when it comes to their their thoughts on his view of life as we know it.
Feeding some of the fodder is a new GQ piece for June. Alex Pappademas met up with Schuman in Italy and chronicled his sometimes surreal experience in the profile "Up from the Streets."
Kim France took particular interest in a couple of his bon mots on her website Girls of a Certain Age. As the founder and former editor-in-chief of Lucky magazine, she knows a thing or two about clothes, and has her own opinion on the fashionable fellow. "It's almost too easy to make fun of Scott Schuman," she declared in an eponymously titled post. "And yet it's impossible not to."
One grandiose statement he offers up is describing a photo of a male model as "a Diane Arbus shot."
France's favorite part, however, is also mine. In a statement that rivals his declaration in 2009 to Toronto's Globe and Mail that he is "pretty good at the sex," he admits to sometimes staging photos in a way that changes their true meaning.
While Schuman is in Milan scanning for subjects at a menswear trade show and finds a subject, Pappademas writes:
He tries to lead people away from the glossy signage of the trade-show buildings and put them up against old, crumbly walls whenever he can.
"It places them in a context," he says. When I point out that by positioning them so you can't see they're at a fashion-trade show, he's actually, technically obscuring the context, he says, "Yeah-it's definitely a curated context. It's my altered reality."
Fashionista shared some other less wacky, but still highly enjoyable, highlights from the piece. They include Schuman throwing a lunch for some of his street style subjects and no one recognizing Kanye West when he is introduced.
The best bit, though, is his extremely low opinion of magazines (which is pretty rich, considering that he has a book of images from his website):
It shocks me when young kids still say, 'I want to do a magazine,' " he says. "Really? Do you want to do a magazine because you want to be an editor-what you think that life is, that romance-or do you want to communicate? Because if you want to communicate, why the fuck would you put all those obstacles in your path and have to print pages, as opposed to going right on the Internet and actually communicating?
It's only natural that Schuman wouldn't understand those kids. After all, he's been curating context and living in his own altered reality where his view is the right one. Maybe he should let his photos speak for themselves.