A few months ago I had a posting on Quinn Cummings and her book Notes from the Underwire. One of the questions I asked Quinn had to do with some of her favorite websites. Her first favorite site was The Sartoritalist. Quinn is very word smart and I was embarrassed that I honestly did not know what the word “sartorial” meant, much less what a “sartorialist” was. Quinn commented that she liked this site because “it’s thrilling to watch people mix patterns correctly.” OK, so I figured it was some sort of fashion site, but since Quinn is so very witty, I thought maybe it was a site that made fun of what people were wearing. I was very wrong. After looking up the word “sartorial” and discovering that it means “of or relating to a tailor or tailored clothes” (thank you http://www.m-w.com/) and then from actually going to the website and following the postings, I realized that this site is devoted to celebrating the clothes people wear and I now understand Quinn’s great attraction. The Sartorialist is actually a guy named Scott Shuman who takes pictures of people he thinks have a unique and appealing fashion sense. He adds very little prose to his photos, but each posting seems to draw a lot of comments.
Last week The Sartorialist came to Dallas to promote his new book, also entitled The Sartorialist. I went to hear Mr. Shuman interviewed by a Dallas Morning News fashion writer (Jason Sheeler) and sign books at Dallas’ flagship Barnes and Noble across from NorthPark. The Sartorialist did not disappoint. He was interesting, warm, witty, and has an engaging personality. I thought he might be a man of few words (like on the blog), but he had a lot to say and I enjoyed his straightforwardness and honesty. He is a very good public speaker and was much more comfortable in front of the audience than Mr. Sheeler. The crowd was made up of a lot of young, stylish fashionistas and then the rest of us. I am sure many people dressed their best without going overboard since they were getting to meet The Sartorialist. I was dressed comfortably and confidentially enough so that I didn’t feel completely out of my element (as I really was).
–Mr. Shuman’s dad was a photographer, too, but not of fashion (sales training and trade shows) and he is from Indiana. He likes photographing his kids and enjoys their pictures.
-His girlfriend is Garance Doré, a French fashion photographer with her own site as well.
–He previously worked in the fashion industry in various aspects.
–He does not like a lot of the other fashion blogs because they get their pictures from other and variant sources and therefore have no consistency.
–Some of his photographer heroes are Bruce Weber, August Sander, Steve McCurry, and Bill Cunningham.
–He doesn’t take too much time with any subject, but the amount of time differs with each one. Most people pose themselves and he doesn’t even talk to some.
-He is good at being oblivious to get a great shot.
-He feels no pressure. His site has integrity in that it is him doing everything: shooting in his own unique way using no assistants and no strange lighting.
-In 2010, instead of just the fashion cities of Milan, Paris, and New York, Mr. Shuman wants to go to some smaller cities and shoot more variety and national dress. Some of these places include perhaps Thailand, Rajasthan (India), and/or Peru.
-He uses a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and then uses the next model up for the bigger jobs.
-He is building The Sartorialist brand and he is working towards an online retail element.
Here is a link to his October 2009 postings. Just scroll down to Monday, October 26, 2009, 10:17 am and you can find his recent picture relating to Dallas.