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Q & A: Street Photographer Rashid Samuel

24 April 2012, 16.00 | Posted in photography, street style | No comments »

RasheedSamuel (1)

As big fans of street photography, we were so excited to discover the work of 18-year-old Rashid Samuel, who has been documenting the “mash-up” looks lately sported by New York City’s stylish teen population on his Tumblr, Versus & Co, for the past nine months. Check out our Q&A interview with him below, where he talks about photography and NYC street fashion, and see additional shots of his work after the flip.

HS: When and why did you start taking street photos?

RS: I started off doing videography as a hobby. I video taped events like Sweet 16s, parties and fashion shows.  I started taking pictures, catching people while they’re walking and stopping people last summer. Being out in Manhattan everyone has a different style and I just wanted to catch it. Now I do street photography for enjoyment. I notice there are other people doing it but no one is focusing as much on the 17-21 year-old age group.

More on the next page.

HS: What equipment do you use?

RS: I use a Canon T1i with a 50 mm lens. I started with a Canon Rebel XS three years ago. I use Aperture to edit. I usually just fix the contrast and brightness and sometimes the vibrance. I take the photos on neutral so they look bland and I put up the colors on my computer.

HS: What is Versus & Company?

RS: Something I made up when I was shooting videos. Usually it was just me so I called the people who helped me in some way “& Company.”

HS: What is the signature look that defines your work?

RS: I think my signature look is, I stop the person, they have a blank face when I take the picture and they’re not really posing.  And I’m short so I don’t take my pictures eye level. The way I take them, I’m looking up.

HS: Where is your favorite Manhattan spot to shoot?

RS: NoHo, there’s more space to find someone who is just walking. SoHo is more compact and packed.

HS: What is the look that’s hot now?

RS: People are mashing up brands. Everyone is trying to be more expressive, trying to differentiate themselves from the next person. They’re trying to find something the next person can’t find.

HS: What are some of labels you’re seeing on a lot on your subjects?

RS: Mostly these kids thrift and a lot of my favorite subjects like high-end labels like Balenciaga, Balmain, Dior; Jeremy Scott is popular now, too.

HS: What about footwear?

RS: Margiela, a lot of people are wearing Raf Simons, plain looking, but still a label. Also, Doc Martens, Jordans—the 6s and the Space Jams.

HS: Does music figure in?

RS: I would say Kanye is really inspiring a lot people. People started wearing the leather pants he’s been wearing for two years. Those are his favorite pants. Margiela, Raf Simons, he brought those brands to the forefront, no one was talking about them before him.  ASAP Rocky has doe that,too.

HS: Who are some of your favorite subjects?

RS: Izzy George, he really makes high end look like regular everyday wear. There are a group of kids called Dope Feen, they customize hats with studs and their style is really different.

HS: Any look you’re getting sick of?

RS: Head-to-toe Adidas track suits worn everyday.

HS: Do you see any new directions?

RS: The look is changing every day.

HS: A lot of your photos look like they’re taken at Union Square. What’s happening there?

RS: Occupy Wall Street is there and has been there for a month and a half. We hang out over there. We see someone somewhere and end up walking over there.


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