To celebrate turning up rather un-expectantly on Change as part of their Tokyo Street Snaps I thought I would just go into why I think Street Snaps represent one of the most important shifts in fashion journalism for quite some time.  Not that this is a new thing by any means, but what you have now is an unprecedented  saturation of fashion photography taken in an entirely natural context – this is after-all what people wear as they live their actual lives.  Continue reading to see more of my favorite snaps and why I am a fan of this particular shift in journalism.

On the fourth day of Christmas Tokyo Telephone sent to me: the evolution of fashion journalism.

Here is a close-up outside the roomsLINK exhibition that was held as part of Japan Fashion Week.  I am personally not a massive fan of this outfit, the idea was that the silver sequins would shine through the holes of the top, but that did not quite go to plan…

While you can criticise some street photography as being somewhat un-representative of real fashion, in that often the shoots are arranged well in advance and feature an entire outfit from a single designer.  Well this is true, but even in those occasions the clothes are still being seen in an entirely real context in a relatively un-posed scenario.

For me the best thing about street snaps is that you get to see fashion that might not necessarily get picked up in magazines, outside of dedicated street fashion magazines like Tune, Fruits and Street.  Through street snaps  you can find micro-trends and individual experimentation, even in relatively mainstream magazines like Egg in their readers pictures section – which I for one always prefer ever the prepared model shots.

The other crucial factor is that thanks to the good ol’ internet, fashion can be seen the world over and this aggregation of pictures can go on to influence the whole fashion world.  Previously a fashion style would develop through people personally seeing people dressed in a certain way in a specific location and being directly influenced by it.  Now you can see exactly what real people are wearing from afar and be influenced, you then go out on to the street and are snapped yourself, which in turn influences someone else somewhere in the world.

I find it so sad that whole generations of fashion are reduced to catwalks, magazine spreads and adverts.  Particularly in the case of Japan I only have a handful of books and magazines on street fashion from the 50s-70s, that regrettably only have a handful of pictures in them.  Such a shame that all those outfits that demanded so much thought, care and attention have get lost in time.

I suppose I would be remiss if I did not mention the dark side of street snaps, namely the issue of consent.  Now I know this is a really difficult subject for photographers, but personally unsolicited pictures annoy me no end.  The good Japanese sites like Fashion Snap, Change, etc all get your permission before they shoot, get release papers signed and so on.  That is not to say I don’t value a perfectly captured moment on film, but when your intent is to capture someone’s personal style, you should always get their personal permission.

There might well be a risk that we are close to over-saturation of street snaps, but by and large I am a fan.  It can get a bit tiresome to be snapped – as Rebecca once found herself asked about 8 times in a day by various sites, but if it is coming from a good photographer who is taking your pictures for the right context it should always be taken as a compliment.  Now tourists snapping around 109 like they think they are in a zoo…  well that is another conversation altogether.

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All pictures are taken from the wonderful Changefashion.net who can always be relied on for inspiration.

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4 Responses to On the fourth day of Christmas… Street Snaps

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Vanessa Austin Locke, R & S. R & S said: On the fourth day of Christmas… Street Snaps http://bit.ly/ePJbHv […]

  2. trashtastika says:

    I too love these street fashion sites from Japan (although many of the western ones bore me RIGID). I myself asked a punk in a great studded leather jacket near 109 if I could snap him, and was unfortunately rebuffed – but at least I asked.

  3. Tokyo Telephone says:

    Good for you, just think how pissed off he would have been if you had taken it secretly. At the end of the day, if you respect someones fashion decisions, you should respect them enough to get permission.

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