Tuesday, April 8, 2008

On the Street…..Urban Camouflage, NYC

So I am just standing on the street talking on my cellphone and right across from me this guy is just standing in a doorway. I guess he is waiting for a friend but he seems totally unaware at how perfect he melts into his surroundings.

The trick here is that the size of the graphics behind him are basically the same scale as the graphics on his hoodie.

I don’t know if this is a typical “Sartorialist” shot but when I see something like this I just have to take the shot.


Close comment

Detach comments


  1. Elisenda C.G.

    April 8, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Men…that’s too mucho. it looks like that he is part of it…I’m fliped out with this last picture, but I like this black piece…

    I’m getting addict to your blog. I love it.

    Big kisses!

  2. Yang

    April 8, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    very cool potrait, particularly striking because of the background. without the setting, however, i’m not sure i would be particularly blown away by his outfit.

  3. (0v0)

    April 8, 2008 at 6:27 pm


  4. Ambrosiality

    April 8, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    love it! especially with the background!

  5. jen

    April 8, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    please continue to give us your notes and thoughts with your images, sart. the unnecessarily aggressive responses must be off putting, but for a truly vast majority of us your annotations are a instructive and inspiring.
    as for this picture, its fabulous. i have become an avid reader of your blog in last month, and am excited to witness your return to street level shots after the beautiful, but rarefied fashion week series.
    central to every fashion choice is the tension between camouflage and display. you teach without lecturing.

  6. Anonymous

    April 8, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    meh.. not impressed. looks like every other graffiti hoodies from urban outfitters


    April 8, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    Veryyy cool photo!!

  8. Anonymous

    April 8, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    at first i was going to leave a comment about how without the backround, the outfit would be totally unimpressive. then i started to think that much of the sartorialist is about how people fit into their settings. how clothing changes and reacts with its environment. and who am i to say, he didn’t stand there all day?

  9. pete

    April 8, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    Brilliant, a great picture.

    (And a really great hoodie, did he say where he got it?)

  10. Anonymous

    April 8, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    ’tis art, sart.

  11. Anonymous

    April 8, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    great title to a great photo.

  12. Jael Paris

    April 8, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    Talk about being shaped by your environment! Nice city flavor.

  13. Iheartfashion

    April 8, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    Stunning picture! Even without the background, I love the chalk-drawn hoodie.

  14. *

    April 8, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    Hey..have you ever thought about coming down here to the Dominican Republic…I’m a stylist here and I can assure you, you can find some interesting material for your blog…

  15. Candace

    April 8, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    Very nice…his stance and stare really draws you into the photo!

  16. Anonymous

    April 8, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    sart, are you going to keep on commenting on your pictures?cause i sincerely hope so. it’s fun reading what inspired you and what you think of it.

  17. Anonymous

    April 8, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    Great photo. Completely eyecatching.
    I like other peoples comments about his look being formed by his environment. If not formed, it’s certainly complemented. Imagine him in a green outdoors setting, he’d be completely out of place looking in that outfit. Here, he looks like he owns the place.

  18. Danielle

    April 8, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    truly amazing. and, isn’t that what makes you a great journalist, seeing the moment and grabbing it?

  19. Anonymous

    April 8, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    forget typical…you have vision! and its great for you to follow it regardless.
    ps i might be younger than some of these other people, but i will keep my open for you while you’re in the city if you still are, bc i dream of being photographed on your site.

  20. La Terpette

    April 8, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    This is an awesome pic

  21. Virginia

    April 8, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    it’s as if he’s part of the art

  22. Anonymous

    April 8, 2008 at 9:06 pm


  23. Anonymous

    April 8, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    When I opened this today I thought he was poking his face through a hole in the fence. He’s so camoflagued – he fooled me for a sec.

  24. Nadine

    April 8, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    Stunning shot. Who cares about “typical”? (Or where he bought his clothes, for pete’s sake?!?) This is great.

  25. savvy mode

    April 8, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    I can’t say much for the outfit but the photo is just brilliant.

  26. Emily

    April 8, 2008 at 9:38 pm


  27. Stacy

    April 8, 2008 at 9:49 pm


    congratulations on the Time.com props!

    i linked you today as the inspiration for a shot i took on sunday.

    thank you

  28. del Carmen

    April 8, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    This time it is not just about the blatant fashion – it is fashion in ::theory::.

    Way to break up the “typical” with an honest and genuine image.

    Thanks for sharing!

  29. edohnyc

    April 8, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    Bravo! Great Shot!

    (I’d like to hear you talk more about peoples reaction to being asked to stand for a photo. Especially those who do not know your work/blog? How often are you turned down?)

  30. citizen

    April 8, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Anyone in their right mind holding a camera would have been a fool not to take the shot. It’s a great photo.

  31. -h of candid cool

    April 8, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    and he looks cool by the way.

  32. la sartorialista

    April 8, 2008 at 10:08 pm

    This is truly a Sartorialist shot for all of the above reasons.

  33. Anonymous

    April 8, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    My eyes immediately widened with surprise and delight when I saw this photo. Fantastic! Way to keep an eye out for interesting shots like this!

  34. Elizabeth

    April 8, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    love your photos. who’s to say this isn’t “typical”? what i like best is that you take pictures of people being themselves.

  35. Anonymous

    April 8, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    love it.

  36. Anonymous

    April 8, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    good eye!

  37. Lesley Denford

    April 8, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    Love how all the elements came together naturally to form one perfect shot. Amazing.

  38. Thu

    April 8, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    It’s not all fashion, people.

  39. - Suzie from Beijing -

    April 8, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    Wow, this is ART! Fantastic.
    What a strange coincidence! (some believe there is no coincidence)
    I am wondering what you said to end your phone call.

  40. Anonymous

    April 8, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    amazing! maybe not typical sartorialist, but i would love to see more like this!

  41. Kelly

    April 8, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    i like this picture alot better than the one right before it

  42. Lord Winoks

    April 8, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    Its a nice photo. Its not fashion forward or inspiring in a stylish way. Its just a plain ol nice picture. I am sure alot of pretentious readers are gearing up their insults but I have come to appreciate these things. I am glad your blog is not 1 Dimensional and you don’t put up a snobbish attitude.

    I appreciate these type of pictures just as much as the outfits. You are a Legend.

  43. Anonymous

    April 8, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    You don’t take many photos of black men, but when you do, they are very memorable. The last guy was the man with a fist, and what a fantastic shot. This one, though not exceptionally fashionable, is equally engaging. I can almost feel his vibe coming off my computer screen… He seems so much more real than all those mannequins you like to photograph “on the street”.

  44. Hugh

    April 8, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    i appreciate your little stories/thoughts on the pics, i find it appealing to read after ive seen the photo

    you’ve been going to all the places i go to, too bad i’ve never seen you around!

    anyway keep it up

  45. monique

    April 8, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    Love this shot. He’s an urban commando. This picture commands OH! So the hoodie isn’t brilliant away from this wall. I dig it and I dig this young brotha’s earnest face.

  46. metscan

    April 8, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    Surely a chance that couldn´t be missed.

  47. Anonymous

    April 9, 2008 at 12:18 am


  48. Jasmint

    April 9, 2008 at 1:44 am

    brilliant shot.

    i love it.

    (i have a similar one by obey, for those inquiring about what label it might be.)

  49. starbahks

    April 9, 2008 at 2:22 am

    your blog becomes more and more about character everyday.

  50. Little Aziz

    April 9, 2008 at 2:27 am

    favorite shot in a while. sometimes there’s nothing wrong with macho.

  51. Charissa

    April 9, 2008 at 2:38 am

    Not the hoodie or the bkgrd tt’s anything to oohaah abt, but the juxtaposition. Funky shot, but for me it’s just sth warm n comfortable to wear for a guys’ night out.

  52. Diana

    April 9, 2008 at 2:48 am

    This is, what makes you, what you are now, Scott! The special “chip” built in your brain, connected to your eyes. Normal people close the whole world out during a phone talk, but you are able to look around and discover people, discover style and such scene like this photo.

  53. nikabrightlightwarrior

    April 9, 2008 at 2:49 am

    this is HOT!

  54. infogenium

    April 9, 2008 at 3:17 am

    Congratulations on this! It isn’t about the clothes – it is about the capturing of a moment. The guy was just hanging around – a magazine would have paid huge amounts to have a photographer/stylist etc to capture such an image. But what I like best is the normality – no posturing or preening or attention seeking pigeon toed stance.

  55. Laura

    April 9, 2008 at 3:20 am

    Such a perfect one- and so it is “a typical “Sartorialist” shot”!

    Love your blog!!!

  56. Anonymous

    April 9, 2008 at 3:24 am

    I’m sure Kanye West will envy this guy.

  57. VĂ©ronique

    April 9, 2008 at 3:28 am

    Superbe !

  58. The Fashion Assistant and her Camera

    April 9, 2008 at 3:49 am

    that’s the coolest shot I’ve seen. His stop blended very well with the background.

  59. Anonymous

    April 9, 2008 at 4:37 am

    Tres Sart. I think it is lovely. Your blog shows people with their own sense of style and how it reflects, projects or in some ways comments on their environment. This is wonderful.

  60. jkh

    April 9, 2008 at 4:38 am

    master shot.

    hope you did not have to drive this guy all through town to find that perfect background… – of course you didn’t…


  61. Anonymous

    April 9, 2008 at 5:15 am

    well, this of course is what it all is about. to open ones senses to things that may go unnoticed otherwise.
    two things that may not be so special on its own become of greater importance if seen in context or placed together.

    to be aware of this and to notice these things is the first step to become arware of what lies behind what our senses are able to conceive.

    so for me this is much more interesting than just seeing someone fashionably dressed.

  62. greendressinDUBLIN

    April 9, 2008 at 5:41 am

    i love the flavor of his style: so unapologetically urban. but the most compelling thing here for me is his stare.

  63. zimbutterfly in melbourne

    April 9, 2008 at 5:44 am

    Like the zips on the hoodie most of all. I must say I like his face and how its not a “fashion or entertainment somebody” type of face. Just a regular guy you’d see at a your take-out place, local spot or on a subway with a good shape-up.

  64. Anonymous

    April 9, 2008 at 6:19 am

    Fashion’s not just about what you wear, it’s also about where you are, isn’t it? The picture is the perfect illustration of it. Thank you for all the inspiring shots.

  65. Anonymous

    April 9, 2008 at 6:25 am

    Gorgeous. Contemporary writing. How many present a day are you able to catch? Go on making us feel as excited as children. Visiting your blog each day as we were opening an Advent calendar.
    Thank you

  66. Anonymous

    April 9, 2008 at 6:33 am

    and the way he gazes straight into the camera, very zen…i love it

  67. Cerisa

    April 9, 2008 at 6:47 am

    Wow! great photo, very basquiat

  68. Hola2ng

    April 9, 2008 at 8:00 am

    Urban camouflage it is indeed.
    The white design pattern on the black jacket(i think i see some animals on there,birds and a cobra?) is superb.
    Also love the orange zippers and the jeans and wristwatch blends in very well against the background.

  69. Anonymous

    April 9, 2008 at 8:14 am

    Scott, I love your blog. As the Guardian said – it’s mesmeric and oddly beautiful. This picture is an example of that. You have such a wonderful eye – I enjoy seeing through your lens.

  70. Hayah

    April 9, 2008 at 9:11 am

    This is a such a great shot!

  71. Caterina

    April 9, 2008 at 9:49 am

    as, for some reason, my comment dissapeared… I´ll speak again :)

    first thing to say is that this is true urban culture to me, it is quoting itself!
    - the colours; just black and white, yellow, red and orange. the orange piece under his chin gives the picture the kicking accent!
    as a whole the photo is beautiful and inspiring!
    the writings are like a frame around him. I am not into graffity,
    but this effect is really impressive to me!

  72. Anonymous

    April 9, 2008 at 10:11 am

    Oh my! Delightful! Like most of the other commenters I love that you capture these special visual surprizes. Brightened my morning!

    ~ Miss Mary

  73. Anonymous

    April 9, 2008 at 10:13 am

    A Cheshire Cat moment. This is a photograph I won’t be able to get out of my head all week – thank you for that! Truly stunnning.

  74. cami falcĂŁo

    April 9, 2008 at 10:18 am

    awesome Sart!!!! this is so NY

  75. malingyun

    April 9, 2008 at 10:23 am

    His outfit is pretty cas, but there’s that peep of orange collar sticking out underneath that hoodie. If only he could straighten that collar up a bit, he’d elevate this outfit!

  76. ama

    April 9, 2008 at 10:40 am

    One of the best shots I’ve ever seen here, Sart! And it’s not staged! It has overwhelmed me in a best possible way.

  77. Anonymous

    April 9, 2008 at 11:10 am

    a good eye as always.

  78. cris

    April 9, 2008 at 11:20 am

    A shot like this makes me think you could enjoy a walk in Mexico City.

  79. Veronique

    April 9, 2008 at 11:23 am

    What are you talking about: He’s totally a “Sartorialist” shot!
    You photographed worst dressed people than him, you know.

  80. sromeo

    April 9, 2008 at 11:33 am


  81. Liz

    April 9, 2008 at 11:50 am

    thoroughly enjoyed it. I like that it’s not “typical Sart” stuff.

  82. Cerisa

    April 9, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Veronique, really? I thought his style was very interesting.

  83. Anonymous

    April 9, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    I know a lot of people have said his outfit isn’t particularly inspiring, but I think his outfit is perfect.

    He’s dressed to suit his lifestyle and surroundings, he’s got a style that works with his life.

    He isn’t trying to copy a look that would be completely impractical for him because it looked great on the catwalk.

  84. Miranda

    April 9, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    This is a beautiful image.

    I wish I had glasses that had lenses that presented everything in your perspective. I’m so fascinated with the images you present and the way you see the world around you.

  85. Anonymous

    April 9, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    This is great, an urban chameleon! That’s the best graffiti hoodie I think I have ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of em. I like the wash on his jeans too.

  86. Danielle

    April 9, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    agreeing with above. If you don’t shake up the way you look at potential photo-opps your work would get stale quickly. Like the post below where you commend the young woman for her Marc Jacobs mishmash, the people you photograph approach their wares in creative and unique ways … and that’s why we love them ;-)

  87. Ruby

    April 9, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Amazing picture! I love it when opportunities like this come about, and being a photographers daughter, I know these can sometimes be far and few between!

    I love the coloured graffiti in the background, it really lifts the shot :)


  88. greendressinDUBLIN

    April 9, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    sart, i just had to come back to thank you for this pic. this is the first one i have loved in a really long time. it captures the energy of nyc and makes me miss it.

  89. Anonymous

    April 9, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    very amusing.
    very cool.

  90. Ashley

    April 9, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    I LOVE this photo!!!

  91. chic simplicity

    April 9, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    it’s actually overwhelming and thought-provoking; like he’s purposefully making a statement through his clothing and that background. i love it!!

  92. Anonymous

    April 9, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    this is THE PERFECT sartorialist shot–it is gorgeous, and interesting… his face is highlighted so perfectly and the back ground is perfect and the sweatshirt looks like a piece of art… wow–I am blathering! one of my all-time favorites–THANK YOU!

  93. Mitchell

    April 9, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    This is an amazing portrait. It could easily hang in an art gallery or show up in a magazine spread. As others have already commented, I really appreciate the anecdotes you’ve included in the last few shots.

  94. Mary Jane

    April 9, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    Beautiful portrait, just wonderful.

  95. JO

    April 9, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    WOW WOW WOW! I love this shot! Incredible!

  96. Anonymous

    April 9, 2008 at 4:40 pm


    I LOVE this photo, stuff like this keeps me coming back. This is basic streetwear and I love it with the background. I also think his hoodie and the expression on his face is worth the shot without the background.


  97. Anonymous

    April 9, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    i love this.
    i love the orange.

  98. Anonymous

    April 9, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    agreed with jen (from near the top), i love your commentary on your own photos. they help me see things i might not otherwise catch. :)

  99. Ted

    April 9, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    “Typical” is boring. Once in a while, don’t be typical.

  100. Johnstons.in.Cambridge

    April 9, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    And the orange around the collar picks up the bursts of graffiti in the background.

    Like so many others have said, I really appreciate your comments.

  101. trinity

    April 9, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    I love it. He blends and yet pops at the same time.

  102. Rollergirl

    April 9, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    Your commentaries make the pictures all the more memorable. Love this…

  103. Anonymous

    April 9, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    lame….the sartorialist trying to appeal to an urban audience?

  104. HonoriaGlossop

    April 9, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    Beautiful–you have an artist’s eye, Sart.

    As someone noted upthread, your blog is like an advent calendar, with something new and unexpected everyday.

  105. Veronique

    April 9, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    Yes Cerisa, we agree: He has style and he belongs here, that what I meant to say. (I might have mixed my words wrong the first time).

  106. Anonymous

    April 9, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    Thank you sir; I would love to own a print of this beautiful portrait ;-) Well done.

  107. Mylinh

    April 10, 2008 at 12:02 am

    I had to draw in a quick breath when I saw this pic. Wow! Love it Sart. Very urban. Would make a good album cover I was thinking.

  108. Jamie Watson

    April 10, 2008 at 12:43 am

    This photo is so gorgeous, so striking! You must not truly worry about something not being a typical “Sartorialist” shot. Never close yourself in like that. (hope I’m not being too bossy). (-:

  109. greendressinDUBLIN

    April 10, 2008 at 1:08 am

    anonymous 8:07 PM

    lame? why the insult? sart posts photos of: the young, the old, the chic, the hipster, etc. today, the spotlight is on urban youth, and you find this lame? i honestly cannot make you understand how much seeing that picture today moved me. i really hope that sart continues to take photos of all facets and fabric of the NYC sartorial landscape.

    this urban style gives real energy and spontaneity to NYC’S sartorial scene. we can’t all spend hundreds of dollars on designer clothes and not everyone wants to look as if they they walked straight out of a catalogue/magazine.

    his outfit looks creative and energetic without it looking as if he spent a ton of money on it or a lot of time trying to piece it together. simple yet cool.

  110. Hilary

    April 10, 2008 at 1:24 am

    love this one
    soo cool!!!!!

  111. Anonymous

    April 10, 2008 at 10:17 am

    Love the peak of orange at his collar.

  112. Doctorwild

    April 10, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    Of course you had to take this shot. “Typical” or not of YOUR style, I’d like to see more of THIS part of your “style” because this is the magic of our urban environment, and of your instinct that, if I may, I’d like to see more of. Bravo.
    Dr. Wild

  113. Anonymous

    April 11, 2008 at 1:32 am

    love the title Urban Camouflage – so poetic!

  114. SocalStyle

    April 11, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    How awesome that you captured this…

  115. Jen (MahaloFashion)

    April 12, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    It looks great with the background!!!

  116. Ms.Du, Toronto

    April 13, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    just when we thought we had you figured out…

    immediately it made me think of Maharishi’s book “Disruptive Pattern Material”. it is a fantastic encyclopedia about the evolution of camouflage that is quite interesting.

    the best thing about the photos you take is that it is so much less about identifying with fashion than it is about just simply life.


  117. Anonymous

    April 14, 2008 at 12:27 am

    Sart, I love how you say that this isn’t a typical “Sartorialist” shot…because I think that that’s what this blog is all about…being different but still very fashion-wise…great job!

  118. LallaLydia

    April 14, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    Awesome shot. That little touch of tangerine gives this guy more flair. I want to frame this…

  119. Anonymous

    April 15, 2008 at 12:55 am

    I love you more after seeing this, Sart! It’s not a “typical Sart shot” as you said, but then again, it completely is. Sart shots are all about photographing unique people in unique surroundings! Thanks for continually reinventing yourself. It’s awesome you took a picture of this guy–he’s different!

  120. WormyLaverne

    April 15, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    what an awesome shot!

  121. Stephanie

    April 15, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    wow..a true camouflage
    looks amazing

  122. la femme

    April 16, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    One of my favourite shots on your blog.

    But then I love graffiti as much as fashion, so it isn’t surprising!

  123. Anonymous

    April 18, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    I keep coming back to this photo. Was even telling my friend about it at lunch today.

    The man, his outfit, the photo…all intensely beautiful.

    This really is one of your best shots.

  124. Anonymous

    April 19, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    Absolutely wonderful. Maybe this is only because I am currently studying in Buenos Aires, where graffiti is a huge part of the urban landscape, but I do think that this is truly inspired fashion.

  125. Anonymous

    April 27, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    There’s nothing unique or original about his outfit (I’ve seen about a billion people wear similar ones). But with this background, it really works! Great job on the picture!!

  126. miznyc

    April 28, 2008 at 12:52 am

    This shot is fabulous. While it may not be your typical shot it seems to embody your message of defining fashion for one’s self.

    to anonymous 8:07 PM

  127. is that so?

    April 30, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    love this shot!

  128. Men's Vinage Connoisseur

    May 10, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    Great Scott!

    This great photogragraphy and displays your wonderful eye for juxpiposition.

    Mazel Tov!

    The Men’s Vintage Connoisseur

  129. ulu

    March 3, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    it would be nice to know his name. he’s captured in an incredible moment.

Leave a comment

Related posts