Currently reading : An interview with Adam Katz Sinding
Adam Katz Sinding is the man behind the hugely popular street style blog Le 21ème and he recently exhibited a selection of his black and white photographs at the Sang Bleu Contemporary Art and Practice Space which was sponsored by Jura whiskey.
Sinding’s photo’s capture the absurdness of fashion and the people who adore it in a truly perfect way. The models, stylists, photographers and journalists who flock to the ten minutes catwalks in carefully planned outfits to catch the attention of the likes of these blogs are documented by Sinding like a social documentary as they arrive and leave to these elitist and capitalist biannual events.
What makes Sinding’s blog stand out from the others (of which there are thousands) is his refined taste in photographing the elite of the fashion world, the most in demand supermodels post show having a cigarette or the stylists wearing the most desired Raf Simons coat or Prada heels glued to their iPhones. These images are usually paired by Sinding’s ability to balance the contrast of their thin and caucasian features, soon to be out of taste clothing and metropolitan background to a satisfying balance. He doesn’t capture the original, progressive or eccentric dressers like many other blogs but focuses his attention on what is considered the most exclusive, physically beautiful and luxurious. Le 21ème is a blog dedicated to the people who are passing in the fashion world, the ones who are following its rules perfectly and not questioning what any of it means other than a competitive desire to fit into something they don’t quite understand.
I interviewed Sinding to find out more about his strange life travelling the world immersing himself in the ephemeral, surreal and exclusive energy of the runway and all that it possesses.
How did you get into what you do?
I just started shooting people on the street in Seattle back in late 2007, as I thought it was an interesting way to meet people I would not otherwise have the guts to talk to.
How would you explain to someone that doesn’t know your work what you do?
I mean, I suppose the layman’s term is “Street Style Photographer” but I prefer to call it more a form of reportage. I’ve long removed myself from looking for trends or the newest coolest object. Now I just want to try to show people what it feels like to be where I was at that moment. Sounds egotistical when I put it that way I guess, but I go a lot of places and see a lot of visually stimulating things, so why not?
What is it that interests you about the fashion world?
I don’t know. It’s always changing? The people are so unique? The idea of this superficial existence? It’s all of that.
Are you interested in being critical of the fashion world?
No. Not really. I mean I suppose by not shooting everyone I see, I am doing so in some subconscious way. But no. I’m just there. Passive. Documenting.
How long do you think the current phenomenon of street style can last, and how have you seen it change?
I think we are at or past it’s zenith. But it doesn’t matter to me. I love doing it. People will always be interested. And I will always be trying to show a less commercial side of it. So I don’t care where it goes commercially. There are guys out there shooting like Papparazzi…shooting all the “important people.” Boring. I mean, I do that too…but in a different way, or at least I try to. I try to catch them in a moment where they have let down their guard, even for just a split second…and then I click. There is a lot of money to be made if you take the commercial path, and it’s becoming clear to everyone, so there are so many photographers out there that they are all tripping over each other. It’s annoying, but it will have to taper off. It’s like an ecosystem. There are too many predators and not enough prey, the predators die off, or migrate.
How do you decide on who you want to photograph? Is it a decision purely based on the way they have dressed themselves or also on their physical looks?
It’s about their attitude mostly. Or I love colour coordination. As in a denim shirt walking in front of a blue billboard with a blue car in the background. These little phenomena which happen so randomly. Or a strange gesture in a wrist, or a jump onto a curb. Something that feels like something. It’s never conscious for me, that’s for sure.
Do you have any formal fashion education? And if you do what is it?
No. Not aside from having a designer for a mother. I also have a degree in art history, but I don’t know if that counts. I was a consumer…and that was what sparked it more than anything. But my mom always had Vogue, Harper’s, and WWD laying around…so that was interesting to me because of the pretty girls inside.
Do you have friends who also take street style photographs?
Yes, I do. We all travel in groups. There are hundreds! I hang in a group of 7-8…French, Danish, Austrian, American, Italians.
Who do you think looks at your photographs?
No clue. Maybe only me? I really don’t care actually. I take them for myself, and I always will. When I start shooting for the viewer it means I don’t love it anymore. But, really I don’t know. I hope that the people who look at my photos are people who want to see something aside from “wow, NEW PRADA!!