Aé: Your photographs illustrate the essence of street fashion perfectly. There are, however, many different and contrasting interpretations of this phenomenon. Let’s try to come up with a notion for it – How would you define street fashion?
AB: I think that street fashion started as a notion describing a local style, be it that of a country, city, neighbourhood or even of a certain street. In some respects this is still valid, but I do believe that it has become more of a global phenomenon with the emergence of street style blogs.
If street photography focuses on revealing individuals in relation to their environment, I see street style photography as a mean of revealing ones character through the way they dress (within their environment). It is also a way in which people choose to present themselves and how they want to be perceived by others.
Aé: Indeed, fashion blogs have and continue to play a significant role in formulating and representing the fashion identity of different cities to viewers on a worldwide scale. But when we are talking about street fashion, the image itself is fundamental, and the urban environment is an important part of its aesthetic. But we know less about the content and context of the shots – what goes on behind the lens. How do you choose people you photograph? Do you ask them to pose for you?
AB: I prefer to take more of an observational stance. I would first find a good spot, where the light falls nicely and then wait for the right person to pass by. It might take a while, but it’s always worth the wait. During fashion weeks this is somewhat easier to achieve, as people are willing to be photographed. Outside it though, more often than not, I would ask for permission to photograph someone.
I like to place an emphasis on the way in which the people I shoot relate to their surroundings and I would say that what draws my attention is the person, rather than the clothing. I find that personal style is not necessarily related to fashion alone. It is the way someone carries themselves, their attitude, and those surprising details that are put together intentionally (or not). To me, style is a cultivation of a sense of balance.
Aé: It is really fascinating to hear you talk about the effect certain moments of the city has on your work. What is your favourite city and how does it inspire you?
AB: I find it difficult to name just one city. What I find most inspiring is the newness of a place. I love those moments when you can go to a city for the first time, and take pleasure in getting lost at a very slow pace. •