By Brooke Kamenoff
On Monday, December 10th, I had the pleasure of attending Scott Schuman’s lecture and book signing at Wellesley College. As you know, we’ve been fangirling about this for some time now so I definitely saw this as a great way to start my week. I arrived early and got a prime spot close to the front and, while waiting, I noticed some of our favorite Boston bloggers, Boston Street Style and Scorpion Disco, in attendance. Eventually, 7pm rolled around and it was time to begin.
Schuman took to the podium and immediately began to discuss feeling out of place growing up, keeping up the integrity of the blog, and the story he creates around each individual he photographs. “There’s a constant pull to create content,” he explained. “And the thing that you have to be very careful with is to feel the pressure but not to feel the pressure.” This balance has helped him create one of the most successful street style blogs to date. Not only is it the quality of the content on The Sartorialist that draws people to the site but it’s also the somewhat vulnerable nature he brings out in his subjects. “A lot of people, mistakenly — I think mistakenly — think it’s because I was the first … I think it’s because I approached it a totally different way,” Schuman elaborated.
One part of the talk that I found to be most interesting was when he brought up a photo he had recently taken at The Art Institute in Chicago. Although it wasn’t particularly a “fashion” shot, it definitely stood out and had distinct character. Schuman went on to describe that when he met the girl she was extremely timid and quiet yet she drew people in – at least this was how he viewed her and wanted to photograph her. He mentioned his work wasn’t ‘truth’ in the form of photojournalism but it was something a bit different. Schuman acknowledged, “I don’t know if this is art, necessarily, but at least it’s art in the sense that it’s a true expression of a person who I met at that time and how I felt about them.”
Finally, after the lecture portion and towards the end of the Q&A, someone asked about the business side and what was most lucrative for him and the site. As a business major, I found it compelling that he went on to speak about the few ads he had on The Sartorialist (like Tiffany and Co.) and how these were more of a sponsorship of his work to allow him to continue what he loved more than anything else. Schuman explained that he usually partners with brands outside of the blog in order to keep The Sartorialist as clean and focused as possible.
Are you an avid reader of The Sartorialist? What do you think of our recap? Let us know in the comments below!