Monday, January 29, 2007

One Of My All-Time Favorite Shots

This is one of my all-time favorite shots simply because I almost didn’t get it.

When I am walking on the street I am constantly,constantly, constantly adjusting and readjusting the setting on my camera so I don’t have to be messing with them when I stop someone to take their photo. On this morning I knew I walking into the sun for a little while so I did a few adjustments to my setting.

It was pretty quiet that morning so I was a little relaxed and not expecting to see much then all of a sudden I see this young lady on her bike.
I had no time to do anything but raise the camera and shoot. Eight out of ten times I would miss this shot because the focus would be off, or the shot is too blurry or the exposure is overly bright or dark, or I just didn’t see the outfit well enough before it was too late.

This time it all worked perfectly and I didn’t even see the white leather boots she was wearing (to ride her bike!) until I looked at the shot in camera.

I love her posture, the bike itself, her hat pulled low, the studious glasses, she just seems so elegant and yet completely sporty. I hate over-preciousness and she seems like the kind of girl that would ride in a convertible with the top and not worry about her hair because she knows she has a great cut.

I know I am completely projecting here about what who she is or what she may be like but that is what inspiration is all about. I don’t need to know the facts- this unknown woman will live forever in my memory just like this. Perfect


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  1. Anonymous

    January 29, 2007 at 2:43 am

    where was this?

  2. eurobrat

    January 29, 2007 at 3:41 am

    Thanks for the backstory :) Beautiful woman, beautiful shot.

  3. Anonymous

    January 29, 2007 at 3:43 am

    i know what u mean about nearly missing a gr8 shot(:
    well done sartorialist, i’m happy that this makes u happy(:

  4. andrés

    January 29, 2007 at 4:58 am

    really nice shot and (or because) a really nice backstory

  5. thwany

    January 29, 2007 at 5:13 am


  6. luxuryduck

    January 29, 2007 at 5:17 am

    such a paris shot :-)

    love from sydney,


  7. jkh

    January 29, 2007 at 5:35 am

    if you like this – come to berlin. would love to see what you find in the city.

  8. Christine

    January 29, 2007 at 5:38 am

    The spirit of the New York I love… Good shot !

  9. Anonymous

    January 29, 2007 at 6:04 am

    dear sart,
    I have been meaning to write for such a long time and this morning, looking at the picture and reading your story, I just have to. I want to thank you for all your lovely shots and beautiful words, sometimes you just really make my day. I appreciate people who can recognize the beauty in everyday life, people with a great fantasy who always have a story to tell.

  10. Anonymous

    January 29, 2007 at 6:07 am

    That was a very Woody Allen-esque preamble. Thanks for showing us what it’s like to be “Sart doing Sart.”

    It’s interesting to hear what happens before a shot and how they impact you.


  11. rosbif

    January 29, 2007 at 7:54 am

    Paris? Where Ave Montaigne meets the Champs-Elysées, I would guess.

    There seem to be so many beautiful and stylish women on bikes in Paris – rue du jour, where Agnès B’s shops are, is particularly blessed!

  12. Anonymous

    January 29, 2007 at 8:33 am

    Lovely backstory that reveals so much about how you’re able to make the kismet muse work for you. The shot speaks for itself on every aesthetic level, like all your snaps, save it gave me an added bit of remedial therapy…. I’ve never been able to get it on for heels. Now I see that treatment and context are everything.

    More presents. You’re just the business~! Thanks.

  13. Alice Olive

    January 29, 2007 at 8:52 am

    That’s a great shot! Her glasses look good too. Plus I have to respect a woman who wears heels when cycling!

  14. atticus_finch

    January 29, 2007 at 9:09 am

    Yes, you definitely captured a perfect moment. Beautiful attire on a beautiful woman…on a bike no less.

  15. Anonymous

    January 29, 2007 at 9:18 am

    It’s the cover of a big sartorialist coffee-table book…

  16. Anonymous

    January 29, 2007 at 9:22 am

    just beautiful and the picture and the story, just perfect

  17. swampgrrl

    January 29, 2007 at 9:33 am

    it’s a great shot.
    i liked hearing your inner workings about getting the shot, just as much as seeing her.

  18. Géraldine

    January 29, 2007 at 9:34 am

    Great shot indeed. I was very happy to see you, hope to meet you in February at the women’s shows.

  19. Lit

    January 29, 2007 at 9:35 am

    That is incredible! I don’t mean to be hyperbolous, but that is one of the best photographic pictures I have ever seen! It just captures the spirit of this woman so well. It’s almsot as if you know what kind of person she is, what she likes, what makes her laugh. It’s wonderful Sart, thank you so much.

  20. Anonymous

    January 29, 2007 at 9:45 am

    great bike. love the chain guard and the splash guard on the rear tire. great color, great “woman’s” shape to the frame.

    nice photo. like the cars in the background pointing the other way.

    your comment about not knowing the young woman surprises me, sart. do you not speak with everyone you shoot? i was under the impression that you did so. to get a waiver or something. i do not know the various laws about needing consent etc., especially internationally, but i am sure you do. can you elucidate some time?

  21. Butch

    January 29, 2007 at 9:53 am

    Nice shot! The boots are quite wonderful–and even the bike makes a color statement.

    PS, regarding the gay-defensive comments in the last post: besides the fact that this is a style forum not a NASCAR rally, no one need excuse an interest in fashion, which is after all about SEEING, about being alive to the visual world.

    And it would be odd indeed if men or woman couldn’t recognize the sexual appeal of their own sex, or were embarrassed to. Let us move toward a greater embrace of the actual and essential, rather than the opposite!

  22. DC Celine

    January 29, 2007 at 10:13 am

    Unknowns living in memory are what makes life wonderful…

  23. Anonymous

    January 29, 2007 at 10:14 am

    love the color of the bike and the white boots against the more muted colors in the rest of the shot

  24. Steve

    January 29, 2007 at 10:16 am

    lovely, i like the touch of color coming from the bike. I can understand your satisfaction of pulling out a great shot like this one in such a rush. I read the text before seeing the picture (maybe it was only me, but the picture didnt show in the main page), and it gave the shot so much more depth. I could almost see myself falling for this girl fleeting across me on her bike on a Paris boulevard.. great way to start the day.. Waiter, un cafe s’il vous plait.
    Thanks for sharing all this on your blog mister Sartorialist. Cheers =)

  25. s_k

    January 29, 2007 at 10:37 am

    I love the whole calmness of this picture! was this shot taken in Paris?

  26. William

    January 29, 2007 at 10:53 am

    Where was this picture taken? I always appreciate it when you provide the location of a photo.

    For example, I see the most amazing images at Flickr. Since I love to shoot, I’m often curious as to where a given shot was taken. But all too often, the only information provided with the image may be something like the following: “DH300123.” Blah!

    As for the woman in the picture: My guess is that she is a true eccentric with a highly refined and individualized aesthetic sensibility. I swear, the white boots should have been SOLD WITH the bike! Love the design of the bike frame – the feminine curve of the upper rail; the mudguard over the rear wheel … Where’s my bike when I need it? I want to follow her!

  27. Anonymous

    January 29, 2007 at 10:57 am

    Great shot sart. Do you shoot manual or aperture priority?

  28. ajane

    January 29, 2007 at 11:07 am

    Number one, the shot: a worthy payoff indeed for the technical vigilance. Great composition aside, this is a perfect capture of the soft light that makes European winters so lovely – it gives smokey, subtle colours (like the grey and black palette of her outfit and her surroundings) depth and makes clear colours (like her baby blue bike and white boots, and the green grass!) glow. Which brings me to number two, the woman and the story. That’s the wondeful thing about a great photo of a great outfit – it really does feel like a still from a movie, an excerpt from a narrative, an invitation to imagination….

  29. Anonymous

    January 29, 2007 at 11:11 am

    you are so poetic! thank you for bringing such joy and humanity to fashion

  30. Anonymous

    January 29, 2007 at 11:44 am

    well played. it’s so perfect in its simplicity.

    i have admired your work since stumbling upon your site in its infancy…over a year ago!


  31. positive_negative

    January 29, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    Great shot, with the photo’s coloring it almost looks as if it was taken in the 60s on a brownie.


    January 29, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    Cada mañana cuando me levanto visito este blog,y veo gente muy interesante que adora la moda;es un viaje muy agradable que me anima a seguir adelante¡Gracias sartorialist¡

  33. Anonymous

    January 29, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    Awesome! What kind of camera do you use??

  34. mssvelteny

    January 29, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    Simply fantastic. sigh. I hope I have days like that.

  35. Anonymous

    January 29, 2007 at 12:55 pm

    I don’t normally comment on The Sartorialist, as much as I read, but this is just exactly what you said: perfect. So perfect I had to comment!

  36. munoche

    January 29, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    Nice shot. In Stockholm and Helsinki i began to see bikers in their high heels. People find it uncomfortable but I ride and it´s a question of put it in practice. Why to renounce a look cause do you bike!

  37. Emily

    January 29, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    oh wow. does anyone know what kind of bike that is? i LOVE it!

  38. andrea

    January 29, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    The azure of her bicycle make this even dreamier!

  39. Anonymous

    January 29, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    she is a good shot
    very nice

  40. Fashion Cult

    January 29, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    couldn’t have been better if you staged it. awesome shot

  41. Anonymous

    January 29, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    I think that’s my friend Celine!

  42. whyioughtta

    January 29, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    A lovely, uncontrived moment.

  43. sara

    January 29, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    Hearing your thought process makes this shot even more perfect, thank you!

  44. Anonymous

    January 29, 2007 at 4:44 pm

    Thanks Sart for this photo and your comments.

    Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.


  45. S.

    January 29, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    So it is safe for me to ride in heels you say!

  46. daniqueconijn

    January 29, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    in holland you see these kind of bikes allover the country! it is kind of an unusual thing in countries outside of the netherlands =) so that’s why i love this shot even though it’s kind of an usual image to me! (Y)

  47. Anonymous

    January 29, 2007 at 6:35 pm

    Sart , my friend, you have captured what Henri Cartier Bresson used to call the, “decisive moment”.

  48. Anonymous

    January 29, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    What a lovely combination of your excellent eye and technical ability, right-place/right-time, and the innate sense of Parisian women to make an offhand statement with their clothes just by simply going about their day. Also? Something about this shot makes me feel that spring is around the corner.

  49. ratty blonde

    January 29, 2007 at 10:02 pm

    OK, someone slap me if I’m over-analysing this…

    Perhaps one reason why the photo seems so ‘right’ is the pairing of the bicycle and the human body. The bike frame has some straight sections and some curves. Likewise her body: legs are straight but from her seat around to the top of her head there’s a gentle curve. And both curves open towards each other, like two crescent moons facing each other, one located above the other.
    Of course the bike’s size and geometry (position of seat, pedals, handgrips) determine the rider’s posture and ‘angle of attack’. (Tho’ ‘attack’ is about the worst possible word to use here, for such a serene shot.)
    The human body is a wonderful creation/development, but so it the bicycle! A superb, energy-efficient means of transport, using a minimum of resources, to maximum effect.
    And as we see in the pic, what a way to get from A to B. So elegant!

    (And those boots – framed perfectly against the skirt guard!)

  50. Sean

    January 29, 2007 at 11:08 pm

    I think what really makes the picture is that she’s riding a blue bike. It really stands out.

  51. Eric

    January 29, 2007 at 11:09 pm

    Those shoes.

  52. Hilarie

    January 29, 2007 at 11:28 pm

    someone asked about the make of the bicycle.
    It looks exactly like my bike, which is a french Automoto. It’s the ladies city bike.

  53. Jack

    January 29, 2007 at 11:38 pm

    The shot is quite wonderful. On a random note, the shot makes me think of a title like “Form vs. Function”.

  54. Anonymous

    January 30, 2007 at 1:13 am

    This is just a reminder of how important your text is to people’s experience of your blog. While i personally adore the photos, what you have to say about them is what makes this place the wonderful thing that it is.

    For those who are wondering, the bicycle looks to be a Jorg & Olif (

  55. thwany

    January 30, 2007 at 4:06 am

    i’m such an idiot, i spelled beautiful wrong.

  56. Anonymous

    January 30, 2007 at 7:40 am

    anonymous @ 1.13am wrote:
    “This is just a reminder of how important your text is to people’s experience of your blog.”

    very much agreed.
    you do seem to have a thing for bicycles, which is wonderful

  57. Rafe Totengco

    January 30, 2007 at 9:24 am

    Every time I’m in Paris I see these very chic girls riding their bicycles in their heels. I’m so glad you were able to take a photo of her. Those white boots are killing me, j’adore! Parisians are so chic. Can’t wait to go back.

  58. Anonymous

    January 30, 2007 at 2:14 pm

    i’m still not sure on the boots. they give me this glam rock vibe.

  59. d. chedwick bryant

    January 30, 2007 at 5:36 pm

    This is one of those amazing shots/ if this was a set up for an ad, hundreds of shots would have been taken and this would have been the perfect one– the white pole would have to be retouched out no matter what, but the girl, bike, expression, clothes, all perfect. You can imagine a life-story for her. This is really impressive. It feels so good when this happens.

  60. onetensullivan

    January 31, 2007 at 12:30 am

    Please elaborate on the settings you use! A huge fan of your site again and again and new owner of a canon 30d – Keep em coming!

  61. sandman_gr

    January 31, 2007 at 8:45 am

    lovely photograph Scott! Glad you managed to shoot it!

  62. Anonymous

    January 31, 2007 at 8:54 am

    I, along with thousands of others, look at this site every day, but my most favourite part is when you tell stories like this. When you (as in me, all of us) see people in the street that look at you, you never suspect for second that they might be thinking such poetic thoughts like yours, like this girl probably never imagined a stranger will say he’ll always remember her, when all she was doing was going about her business. I’d LOVE to think that out there someone once saw me and thought something like that. Beautiful.

  63. Anonymous

    January 31, 2007 at 8:56 am

    I, along with thousands of others, look at this site every day, but my most favourite part is when you tell stories like this. When you (as in me, all of us) see people in the street that look at you, you never suspect for second that they might be thinking such poetic thoughts like yours, like this girl probably never imagined a stranger will say he’ll always remember her, when all she was doing was going about her business. I’d LOVE to think that out there someone once saw me and thought something like that. Beautiful.

  64. Freshness

    January 31, 2007 at 9:47 am

    Perfect. I love the colors of the shot, and it does give a sense of spring beeing on the way…

  65. fee

    January 31, 2007 at 8:52 pm

    i know what u mean about nearly missing a gr8 shot(:

  66. Anonymous

    February 1, 2007 at 11:24 pm

    Ahhhh… reminds me of visits to Italy. At every turn, beautiful women riding bicycles and Vespas… Thanks for bringing back warm memories!

  67. Anonymous

    February 2, 2007 at 9:26 am

    I bicycle to work like this all the time here in Holland. She looks great!

  68. Jack Daniel

    February 2, 2007 at 5:48 pm

    You should come to The Netherlands;

    Thousands of stylish (wo)men riding on bikes.

  69. Anonymous

    February 5, 2007 at 2:17 am

    perfection . . . the shot and the subject. the white boots says it all!

  70. Danny

    February 7, 2007 at 8:26 pm

    Wow. I did not see this photo ’til just now, but I am glad I did, becayse that woman and that bike and this shot just RULE! Thank you for sharing it with us!


  71. IASSART.

    March 15, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    I need to get a bike like that.

  72. julius

    May 14, 2007 at 4:50 am

    i’ve been looking for nicely-colored, simple-framed bicycles for a little while now and because there has been some speculation, the bike pictured is a fietsfabriek classic! i plan on getting one of their other models very soon! (im quite into the “macho”)
    brilliant photo as well

  73. Go Boo Boo

    June 15, 2007 at 11:59 pm

    Her shoes made it for me! Love the bike fashion pictures, thanks.

  74. Anonymous

    February 8, 2008 at 4:11 am

    I just LOVE the way you write, i could read your blog all day, everyday…
    oh wait – I DO!!


  75. Teng

    February 29, 2008 at 10:39 am

    I love this photo, it’s serene, the right light, the right
    colors, the right composition; even the tree is at the right place! effortlessly beautiful!

  76. BritnLind

    April 12, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    Congratualtions on this shot. Its fantastic!

  77. wiendelt

    July 27, 2008 at 6:32 am

    Hi, I realy like the picture’s. If you are interested in Bicycles, You have to visite Amsterdam. You can eat your heart out. Also good to visite for Bicycle shots is:


    gerating Wiendelt

  78. Anonymous

    August 19, 2008 at 3:28 am

    Dear SS –
    This shot reminds me of the first time I visited Milan. I saw a beautiful woman in her 50′s (I estimate) riding an old push bike, wearing a Burberry trench, 5 inch heals and resting a large LV monogram bag in the basket on the front!
    I was the only one who looked surprised.

    Thank you for reminding me of that moment.


  79. Yvette

    November 19, 2008 at 7:28 am

    love the old school bike!

  80. Carien

    January 27, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Her bike is sooooooo Dutch! You can only find a bike like this in Holland, despite of bikes which are transported of course! But I love this picture! So Europe!

  81. iPato

    February 3, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    This looks like Stockholm, outside of Café Opera, but I could be mistaken.

  82. Zaki Sungkar

    February 16, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    i really love this pic as well, ten point for this :)

  83. Nastya

    March 20, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Bike looks stylish. I guess she chose on purpose those white boots 8)

  84. Anonymous

    May 17, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    i wish everyone saw the world through your eyes.

  85. anna kim

    September 29, 2009 at 11:23 am

    you write so beautifully. i love that you can see a person and let your imagination run off like that. that is a wonderful gift.

  86. Little Black Words

    November 17, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    Nice story + Nice shot = Gorgeous! :)
    well, i think if the woman see it, she will be flattered

  87. Daan Flem

    December 8, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    great shot! gotta love those spontaneous shots, it's what photography is all about!

  88. Rachel Moss

    February 15, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Lovely story and you are right to share the inspiration.

  89. Ameliask

    February 16, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    I biked to prom in heels.

    I'm happy knowing women bike in heels on a regular basis.

    Lovely Shot.

  90. Isabel

    March 6, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    Beautiful photo. Must still rank way up there for you, even 3 years later. Has she ever come forward to
    thank you?
    March 2010

  91. behindthemask

    March 14, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    it's all about thet fact that you don't know what's behind her mask that makes it so cool. it is a class shot for sure :)

  92. Sara and Emma

    October 29, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Really interesting backstory. Your blog is amazing.


    December 2, 2010 at 8:35 am

    Love the way the curve of her back mimics the curve of the tire. Flawless photo!

  94. Anonymous

    January 11, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Lets find her..!!!

  95. the girl called she

    February 5, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    you should really visit LA. :) we got a lot of stylish bicyclists hitting the streets lately despite the crazy LA drivers.

  96. akbar

    March 12, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    lovely shot and insteresting story


  97. Gina

    April 6, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Perfection. I can just see her cruising by without pedaling, just sort of gliding.

    xx Gina

  98. Juliet Winter

    April 17, 2011 at 8:59 am

    I've been watching your blog for a while now and I always love the shots you take and the people in your photos and there style. I especially love this post, not only for the photo but for your explanation. I love "this unknown woman will live forever in my memory just like this. Perfect" . And also when you talk about capturing a shot and not always getting it, it lets me understand you better and appreciate your work a lot more. I've only just realised i have a passion for such photography as well, and I aspire to be just like you!
    - Juju xxx

  99. Nellie

    April 27, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    Oh my gosh!!! I just learned of your of your blog and am captivated!!! If I met you I'd kiss you! Really! I love, love, love Italy too!! Your pictures are delicious! Seriously. Your eye for what's right, regardless of the designer's original intention and respecting, accepting and capturing with your lovely lens every day people's translation, is poetry, sexy and perfect! Love it all!!! Gracias desde Puerto Rico!!

  100. Garrett

    May 20, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    I get it! For me reminiscent of Hel̩ Nice РGoddess of 1930's French motorsport in her trademark helmet. Thanks for all your images, Garrett

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  102. lindayoga

    August 8, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Stunning! How does it look in B&W?

  103. missy

    August 12, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    Cool. I wonder if she knew what happened. I dont really dig the style but the backstory is amusing and so is the photo backdrop. Ideal morning in Paris.

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