Friday, June 17, 2011

A Classier Set of Dames

Let's Have a Girl's Day Out! 2011
I will stipulate right up front that no one’s going to confuse me with Scott Schuman, also known as The Sartorialist. Scott does an excellent job of photographing the fashionable. (The dean of this kind of on-the-fly fashion photography is undoubtedly the New York Times’ Bill Cunningham.) No matter how zaftig or sleek, the people Scott photographs on the streets of New York, Paris, Amsterdam and especially Milan always look interestingly fashionable and comfortable in their own style.
Let’s just say I have neither their sense of style nor fashion confidence. Like a lot of American guys, my sense of fashion locked in somewhere between high school and college. Fortunately, men’s fashion is cyclical enough that if I just hold on to the clothes I can count on them coming back in to fashion at a point and there I’ll be, momentarily—and only momentarily—back near the front of the curve.
To be honest, I don’t care to look like some of the silly looking young men Scott photographs, like this guy. Skinny high water jeans will never look good on me. But I could probably learn something from this guy, or these guys.
I was reminded of all this yesterday afternoon while taking a power walk down to the Boardwalk to see the 2011 Boardwalk Art Show. The show started yesterday and runs through Sunday. Over the years I’ve learned that it’s best to go to the show on Thursdays before the crowds start pouring in for the weekend. I’ve also learned that Thursday and Friday are typically ladies’ days at the Boardwalk Art Show for the “ladies who lunch” set. Yesterday was no exception.
Lady in Louis, 2011
In place of the usual frumpy tourists in tee-shirts and flip flops was a diverse crowd of local ladies. They came in all sizes and shapes, ranging from oversized seniors in muumuus and sequined sweaters to young artistically inclined mothers pushing strollers to country club ladies dressed in Lily Pulitzer and Talbots. They weren’t pretentiously attired. But they were, in any event, dressed for an art show.
I believe Scott Schuman shoots with a 50mm lens and the full cooperation of his subjects. This gives him the ability to stand back a bit from his subjects, take a moment to think about what he wants to do and indulge in some nice short depth of field. I, on the other hand, was not prepared to shoot like Scott. I was armed with a 17-35mm wide angle lens (because I was still ostensibly on my tattoo hunt), was shooting while walking and was working without the cooperation of anyone because I didn’t want to lose the spontaneity of the moment.
After seeing these pictures, I’m beginning to wonder if spontaneity is overrated.
Green is the New Orange, 2011


  1. The way women dress seems a good indicator of the social status of an area, especially women in their 40s and upwards. Men don't seem to vary very much...

  2. Hahaaaa. I love 'em. I could sit and people-watch all day long, so they're great fun for me. As for the Sartorialist images you selected, I remembered every one of those--I love his shots. And yes, Bill C is the king. My favorite part of the paper some weeks.