I totally agree with the dangerous quality of the photo’s ambiguity. Not wanting to offend anybody, but maybe the point of this photo’s presence here is more about social statement, NOT a fashion statement.
Most likely not, if you know some history of around here.
I’m curious what makes the ambiguity “dangerous” to you. To me it’s more interesting than dangerous. Are you suggesting that this is somehow a trap for “ignorant” posters? Ambiguity or not, there’s always a danger in making assumptions.
The ‘danger’ here is somehow thinking that this is in the territory of Zoolander’s “Derelicte” Collection. I don’t know if it’s a ‘trap’ … but when reading some of these comments, I’m thinking BrĂĽno and Zoolander :-)
I’m with you, Alison (you’re spot-on about the potential of this work being Zoolander, and SB Cohen territory).
What interests me is the “intent vs. the impact” of a photo like this one being posted on a public message board.
Scott seeks images of beauty, or rawness, or “aboriginals” in their natural habitats (street people suddenly has layers of meaning…is Scott photographing “street people” (men and women going about their daily lives) or he photographing “street people” (the indigent, the down and out, the homeless, etc.)?
And it opens the question about what beauty it, and what Scott’s goal is…
Is he Diane Arbus, Dorothea Lange, or Helmut Lang?
It is obviously a homeless man. Look at the posture. At least that is how I perceived it. And I don’t think there is anything to diminish the ever growing problem of homelessness in this photo. Its is interesting texture, actually, and that worth noticing. But also it is a photo of something you see very, very often in any city, even small ones today. People with nowhere to live. The ambiguity is not dangerous. There is beauty in all sorts of things. The danger is not in fashion at all. the danger is in people doing nothing about the problem. I would argue that its better use of the indignation to donate some money or raise the question at a precinct meeting then to worry about hipsters. Its no secret that there are more, and MORE and MORE homeless people around all the time. Sorry for the rant. But its something I have been noticing too much of in the last five years or so. Its a lot worse out there.
Martine, your comment is by far the most authentic. I think the world needs more people pushing ground socially in fashion. As i perceive Scott has done in this image. The fabric may be inspiring but OBVIOUSLY this man is not attempting a high fashion statement. So that is why i do find this image in this context of ‘THE SATORIALIST’ offensive. Shame.
People who find photographs dangerous need an intervention.
people who don’t find art dangerous need an intervention.
I’m not certain if it’s a trap for ignorant posters — but Scott is clearly trying to titillate the viewer by cropping the photo so that we can’t tell if the subject is homeless or just a tragic slave to “fashion.”
Perhaps Scott knows the truth — but, in the meantime, we have people wondering if it’s a “Balmain jacket” or if he’s heading to a soup kitchen.
I don’t think that’s the charge of this blogger (Scott). But I think the photo is presented in a way that will make people A) walk on eggshells about how they comment, and B) make people (yet again) pay homage to Scott’s eye for beauty.
I like Scott’s work. Often, I marvel at the comments his photos generate (the posters who see beauty and charm in the objectively hideous), but he has elevated photo-blogging to an art form. Just ask him where he sits during fashion week: hint…it’s in the front row.
I first visited this photograph early this morning. I mulled over some of the comments I read at that time – needing to find a way to respond to the discomfort I felt at some of the observations. Imagine my relief when I came back this evening to find this balanced response to the wide range of reactions. Thank you “wp” – you put my rambling thoughts in order.
I don’t like to photograph street people but I think this is an good example of keeping anonymity and showing character through the condition of the individuals clothing. Striking image. Very interesting
Great shot! I love the patina on his coat. I wonder why so many homeless people have such a great sense of style. I think there is a lesson here for all of us ‘rich’ people: you don’t need a lot of money to be fashionable! Just be yourself and have fun!
I see on the back of this person a landscape of deconstructed art. I find the comments above interesting. The idea that this could be labelled as street person did not even occur to me, even in the context of a blog that for the most part is a platform for a type of fashion that is described by and idealized by the majority of viewers.
Interesting photo. I have no idea if it’s a homeless person or someone (like me) who won’t give up or repair a great coat. I’ve see dazzlingly joyous outfits on people who were clearly street/homeless/disadvantaged souls that could easily inspire an entire collection. Like the woman at 7th and The Bowery wearing a full sequined skirt, and a rainbow array of wraps, scarves and turban last summer. If only I’d had a camera–and the nerve to ask–so I could have photographed her.
Very thought provoking. Taking into account all of the chic very beautiful people that you have always shown us, this image could be anyone….it is interesting how many responses have decided who this is, or how this person lives. Great work Scott…you have an amazing POV!
I think this gentleman is homeless based on his posture, not just the condition of his coat. I’m not feeling a lot of energy from him, I’m afraid he doesn’t feel well. But this shot is a good example of what I love best about Scott’s really very compassionate camera work–we’re asked to take a good look at so many different people, without judgment, and just appreciate them. Just see their beauty.
I just saw something on the internet : “is The Sartorialist going too far by taking a picture of a homeless?”
I think the one going too far is the one who asked this question. People in the street get inspiration from the fashion shows, from magazines, from other people in the streets. Fashion gets inspiration exactly the same way, some designer got inspired by people who lived in the street and nobody thinks we need to make a fuss about it. Why Scott Schumann could take pictures of journalists and fashion lovers and everyone but couldn’t take the picture of a homeless man? You can see beauty everywhere, there is no “correct beauty” whatsoever, you don’t have to stay in a particular and closed field; there is no difference between showing the clothes of a good looking girl and showing the clothes of a homeless person. Well there is actually, but it’s not a scandalous difference. It’s all about beauty, aura, about showing everyone without discrimination.
That would be to ignore that on this, a style blog, there clearly is a “correct beauty”, just skim through the pages, so you really can’t have it both ways; there is editorial visually, editorial in the text and via the comments (which are approved for posting); an editorial which, by definition, is discriminatory.
Where is the face in this photograph and why is it not shown? All “auras” are seemingly not equal.
I agree on this, but I just meant that this picture is not at all scandalous; maybe the man did not want Scott to show his face, or maybe Scott did not want to. We’ll never know the circumstances in which the picture was taken; this is a step away from the editorial dimension of the blog, and even if of course when you skim through the pages you clearly feel the editorial, I don’t think it is hypocrite or fakely beautiful to post such a picture, it is just something different and people are talking about it, that’s the whole point.
I’m horrified by some of the comments on this post. It’s undeniably an arresting image, but to stand back and call his jacket art or comment on the man’s “sense of style,” or even to assume he is homeless is embarrassingly insensitive and shallow. Comment on the photo all you like – the texture of the jacket is indeed interesting given the context of the city. But don’t comment on the man… we don’t know anything about him.
I agree, James. Many shallow and insensitive comments here. Imagine having a chat with this man (obviously homeless, come on!) and asking him about his ‘artistic/beautiful’ coat. What a joke! I would hope no one would dare do such a thing. egads!
This pic gives me an idea for a new design. Picture the same jacket but with colorful patches in place of the sections that are peeling off. Maybe even throw in some studs while you are at it. http://www.vinslookbook.com
Sart sees beauty/interest all over the place. This photo in & of itself doesn’t trouble me. But I sincerely hope that Sart asked the person’s permission before taking the photo and didn’t take the picture surreptitiously. Whoever was wearing this coat is a person and his/her wishes, dignity, and preferences should be respected.
I live in Phoenix where there seem to be more homeless people than I ever saw living in New York, possibly due to the warmer climate. It did occur to me this person may be homeless. That being said, I do not agree this photograph is sublime, or a statement piece. To me, saying that is just an example of “The Emperor Wears No Clothes”. My first impression is that Scott captured an interesting texture. Period. It is, indeed! But…it is also a very gross coat.
Why have so many of the commenters on this photograph called this man “homeless”? What I see is a guy wearing a shabby coat that has an interesting texture. Why do so many of the people here assume that he has nowhere to live? I never knew that shabby clothing was the best indicator of someone’s living arrangements.
when I look at this i dont think about the social asepcts immediately. maybe its the context of the site, or the lack of info that comes with picture, but to me this looks like a coat that was turned that way by time/use not intent. it could be a homeless man, it could be somebody who this is their fav coat and they wear it every day like a cartoon character. but most of all it awes me in the things that can occur naturally in texture/fabric through our environment instead of being created by a designer on purpose.
It’s neither good nor bad. Very interesting pic. Great texture and grit. I can see years in that jacket…But there are not too many panels left on it… Ie he will be really cold soon. And could die. From the cold. And we did nothing to stop it. And the website owner indirectly makes $$ from posting the pic by virtue of each click…but I don’t know what he does, maybe he is a big donator to charity? Maybe he offered him a sandwich. I, we don’t know. Point is, it’s hard to get moralistic without being hypocritical. stuff in life ain’t fixed, everything is dependent and conditional…