During our induction week at University we were given a Street Style brief, requiring us to work in teams to take photographs of people within Nottingham, focusing on their outfits, accessories and how they styled themselves. The brief stated that we were working for a visual trend research agency that had been hired by an innovative fashion label who were not looking for generic pictures of good-looking people all dressed the same - they wanted us to discover style influencers and individuals. So off we went, armed with only a camera.
Having watched the documentary 'Bill Cunningham New York' before embarking on our Street Style mission, this had given us food for thought about how to approach the brief. High quality images would be necessary so, rather than using our iPhones, we turned to a slightly more professional camera owned by one of our group members to ensure minimal blurry images.
We didn't really have game plan or strategy when it came to photographing. All we knew is that we wanted a variety of both men and women as well as a myriad of ages and we all agreed we needed to focus people who stood out from the crowd and had their own defining sense of style. These requirments made us realise just how difficult Street Style photography really is, which is made to look effortless by legends such as Cunningham and Scott Schuman of the infamous Street Style blog 'The Sartorialist'. Having to photograph individuals and seek out these style influencers particularly made me realise just how much we all dress incredibly similar in this day and age, following the same trends and resulting in essentially 'fashion clones'. This naturally made the process more difficult, combined with our very random process of going about the brief which, in hindsight, could have been more planned and refined. However, the world of Street Style photography is very random and coming across those rarities with a truly individual sense of style is unpredictable.
The brief as a whole was a fantastic bonding experience, allowing us to form friendships within our groups; crucial within the first week of University. In addition to this it forced us to be brave and step out of our comfort zone. Approaching strangers and asking to photograph them is, I think it is fair to say, a little daunting, so working as a team to overcome this was extremely beneficial.
We then collated these images onto a Pinterest board and here are a few of the shots we took;
So a few lessons learned from our Street Style brief; Street Style photography is a lot more difficult than it looks (natch), but is an extremely effective way of seeing how trends are permeated throughout the streets and how people can be categorised and defined through their clothing choices, also individualism is particularly slim but priceless when found. So in summary; be brave and be different.