On the Job with Street Style Photographer Adam Katz Sinding

Photos by Adam Katz Sinding

Fall has officially arrived and NYFW is here again without warning. The line for your daily iced latte just got longer and far more fashionable. The vintage Levi’s you lived in all summer long suddenly aren’t as chic as the woman next to you striking a pose in sharp black tailoring and a double espresso. Your sunglasses probably don’t feel big enough either (how else are you going to put up with all the attitude in the air?) While you’re busy having a mini-crisis because you stayed in summer one day too long, photographer Adam Katz Sinding is quite keen to this shift, for a new season of style stars awaits his guise.

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We jumped on the phone with the man behind Le 21ème while in Amsterdam on his eve of fashion month and his flight to New York. That’s a thirty-day circuit and an average of three hours of sleep per night not even Morgan Spurlock could prepare for. He stays up to tell us what he’s thinking.

Who do you look forward to shooting every season?

I look forward to finding new people, new venues, new cities, and new looks.  It’s always exciting to see new things and try to capture them in a way that creates a memory of that moment.

When you think of the familiar faces you’ve shot, who’s the first person that comes to mind?

I would say, if I have to pick ONE person: Natasha Goldenberg.

In your opinion, what makes for a great street style image?

The light is paramount. Bad light can ruin an amazing moment. There are so many lighting situations where I see other photographers shooting, and my camera is just at my hip, untouched.  I just don’t want to take a photo in certain light. It doesn’t look nice, and there’s no point in taking a bad photo of a good person.

Give us a high and low moment from past fashion week experiences?

Gucci one year ago in the most torrential rain I’ve even been in.  Four or five of us had our camera’s broken by it.  It was horrible.  Also shooting outside Victoria Beckham in February in -17 celsius was pretty painful.  A great high moment was shooting outside Vetements in July and having not so many nice photos due to a horrible venue, then walking to the next venue in a pretty bad mood, only to have Rick Owens walk out of a random cafe all alone and cross the street in front of Opéra Garnier.  It was only myself and one friend there and it really made my whole day.

From your experience behind the lense, how would you differentiate NYFW street style from other fashion weeks?

NYFW is hard work.  Jam packed with shows.  The weather sucks.  Freezing winters and boiling summers.  It’s dynamic, and I like that.  NYFW is not my favorite as far as street style goes, but the difficulties make it very exciting, so it ranks high on my list.

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How has your job changed over the years? How has fashion week changed?

Each season there are new and more photographers.  When I started there were maybe 20 people. Now there are 500 shooting.  It’s hard.  Cops, barriers, paparazzi, everyone is in our way.  The challenge makes it exciting.  If there were just 20 people shooting, I’d probably be bored by how easy it is.

It’s 30 days and 3 hours of sleep. That must take a toll. What drives you to take on that sort of schedule? What do you gain at the end of it, aside from, well, a paycheck?

I did this for free for years.  I’m not here for the money.  I love this job, and I refuse to let the financial gains be my primary fuel-source.  I do this because I love the challenge.  We all work SO hard.  We sweat, we freeze, we run through traffic, risk our lives, or safety, our health.  Just to take a photo of what…some girl in some nice shoes?  It sounds to stupid on paper, but it’s so much fun.  I’m so lucky.  I just want to take the best photo out there.  Every day is like the Olympics, and I want that fucking Gold Medal.

You Should Be Inspired By… Bibi Cornejo Borthwick, Photographer

Photo courtesy of Bibi Cornejo Borthwick

Bibi Cornejo Borthwick’s unfettered images are easily reminiscent of a dream-state; Cornejo Borthwick captures her subjects solely on film, which allows for a happenstance beauty to appear– see above for proof. In her images, it’s easy to see that sometimes letting go is the best way to let the grace and charm of the subject shine through.

At only 24, the young photographer has already shot for publications such as Dazed and Confused, T Magazine, Pop, and L’Officiel Hommes. Here she shares with us a few things that inspire her work and life.

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“The MET. I can spend hours getting lost in that museum.” (1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY.)

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“Marcel Duchamp: The Afternoon Interviews by Calvin Tompkins. My absolute favorite book.” (Available here.)

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“Another favorite book of mine is Gerhard Richter’s Atlas.” (Available here.)

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“The best album is Finley Quaye’s Maverick a Strike.” (Available here.)

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“My favorite scent to wear is Narciso Rodriguez.” (Available here.)

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“In my home, I burn Feu de Bois by Diptyque.” (Available here.)

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View more of Bibi’s work here.

Talking to Carmen Electra About New Single, XL Nightclub, & Photographer Mike Ruiz

Tonight they will be celebrating the birthday of photographer extraordinaire Mike Ruiz. over at XL Nightclub, 512 W. 42nd Street, Carmen Electra, Martha Wash , The Ones, Janice Robinson and Jason Walker will perform. The event  will be hosted by the luscious Lady Bunny and Bianca Del Rio and the cast of HOT MESS. DJ Escape and Whitney Day will provide the sounds. The whole shebang will benefit the Ali Forney Center (AFC).  Admission is $15 for non-members. They are trying to raise $15,000 for the Center which provides shelter and care for homeless LGBT youth. The center was particularly damaged from the wrath of Hurricane Sandy.

Carmen Electra will perform her new single “I Like It Loud” which was produced  by Grammy-nominated producer Bill Hamel. Carmen will do the media rounds with appearances on The Wendy Williams Show, VH1 Morning Buzz, and Anderson Cooper before scooting over to XL. I asked her all about it.

Why did you decide to be part of this benefit for the Ali Forney Center at XL Nightclub? 
When I heard the center was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, I could not help but to be part of this amazing night.

How did it come about? 
I am friends with Mike Ruiz; he called me and asked me to be part of the benefit.

Have you worked with Mike Ruiz as a model? 
Yes, he’s shot for a few magazines.

You have a diverse career. What are your career goals? 
To continue entertaining my fans and touring the world.

XL Nightclub’s Director of Operations elaborated:
How do you think Carmen Electra will energize your crowd? What makes her work?
She is a versatile entertainer; she’s been on MTV, Baywatch, and she now has a singing career. Gays respect a hot woman continually reinventing herself.  She’s working with Mikey Minden (Pussycat Dolls), and the act is pretty over the top. I saw a couple rehearsals and know the crowd will love it.  She’s come a long way from slow-motion jogs down the beach.

XL Nightclub is no longer the new club on the block. How would you define it and compare it to the dominant gay clubs of other eras… say the Roxy, etc.
XL isn’t just a big dance club; we’re a full-service, 200-seat cabaret and lounge.  In any given week, we’ll have artists like Alan Cumming perform in the cabaret, DJs like Danny Teneglia spin for 2,000 people in the nightclub, we’ll produce a rock concert on our 32-foot stage, host a young-professionals mixer in our front lounge, or host a full sit-down charity dinner. We do it all.

Besides this, what is planned as far as performances and events that you think will be the highlights at XL this winter? 
We have loads of new programming that we’ll be rolling out in the winter. I’m most excited about our new lounge concept.  We’re completely gutting our front lounge and creating an exclusive new “club-within-a-club.”  It’s a high-end exclusive, “gay Bungalow 8”  concept that we think is missing from our community.  The goal is to have it open by the end of January to coincide with our one year anniversary.  More details on that soon.

The Leader of the ‘Twilight’ Wolf Pack: Chaske Spencer

Chaske Spencer is not a household name. In fact, when I hang with my neighbor and friend, it is more likely that someone will recognize me than the face seen by millions and millions. Chaske is a movie star who is well-known or, at least, well-seen as the head of the wolf pack in the Twilight movie series. Once in a while, at brunch, I’ll ask him to make that werewolf face and make him recite a line from the flick … he never goes for my bait. He just smiles that movie star smile and laughs that hearty movie star laugh. His star is on the rise and I suspect his anonymity will soon be lost. There are movies in the can and in the works and TV things being talked about. He is, like, 6’5,” good looking, of Native American heritage, and might be the nicest person I’ve ever met.

This Thursday he will have his debut photography show at the Dream Hotel, 210 West 55th Street, up on the roof. I will be there. I have been trying to get him to Monday night Bingo for a year and if he gets me uptown then he better show up for Murray Hill and Linda Simpson’s Monday Night Bingo extravaganza…or else. Chaske is half my age and twice my size and I’ve watched him turn into a bad, bad wolf many times….. so it might be a fair fight.

Let’s get the elephant-in-the-room question out of the way… I know you as a friend, a brunch and Bingo buddy (soon), but to a great many people you are the leader of the wolf pack in the Twilight movie series. Tell me about your film career and how it affects your normal routine for good …for bad?
Yes, brunch pals and hopefully go-to bingo pals soon. My film career started about a decade ago. My first film was a movie called Skins. The director was Chris Eyre. Since then, it’s been a slow climb to the working-actor mountain top. When I landed Twilight I was broke and hadn’t been able to land a job in two years. I actually thought that if I didn’t get this I was going to pack it in… call it a day on the acting career. For the good part, I’m working a lot now. I have three films lined up. They should be out next year. I also, just got back from Australia. I was filming a pilot called Frontier for NBC. I don’t let my career affect my normal life. I keep pretty low-key. It’s just a job that I like to do. I’m pretty lucky.

Have you always been a photographer? Tell me about your work, especially shooting rock bands. Which ones have you shot?
I’ve always been fascinated by photography. I wanted to be a painter but I found out that I don’t have the patience for painting. I like the instance gratification of a really good photo. I started taking photos as soon as I moved to NYC, when I was 22. I was using a Canon film camera. I bought it for very cheap at a pawn shop in Calgary, Canada. At the time I needed to spend money on food and rent, not film. So, photography sat on the back burner for a time but, since I’ve been working and traveling, I take my camera everywhere with me. I have a digital Canon Rebel. I started shooting bands a couple of years ago. My roommate at the time, Adam Morse, plays bass for the Five O’Clock Heroes. I started going to their shows and taking photos of them. I’ve also shot this band called Roma. I like going to clubs and finding bands to shoot.Chaske Spencer  You are a Native American. How did you grow up and how did you end up here? Also, tell me about your charity work and let’s throw Michelle Obama into this mess of a question.
I grew up on a couple reservations in Montana and Idaho. I moved around a bit. My parents were teachers and taught on Indian reservations. They did the best they could raising me with a strong since of self. But, living on a reservation I saw a lot of poverty and addiction. There is not a lot to do there, so I would get into some trouble from time to time. Nothing big; just regular teenage shit. It wasn’t until I started to go to an all-white school that I noticed how different things were, how the living conditions on a reservation are pretty much that of a third world country.

After high school, I tried to do the college thing. But I failed at that. I wasn’t doing much with my life. I was just hanging out in bars, getting drunk, and smoking a lot weed. One night I just decided I couldn’t keep doing the same thing over and over again. I decided I wanted to move to NYC. I bought an airplane ticket to NYC. I had saved some money from working some shit jobs.

But the weekend before I was ready to fly out, I got drunk and put my dad’s truck into a woman’s fence. I had to postpone my flight, and repairing the fence and her yard took all of my cash. So I ended up coming to NYC with only $100.

I look back on it now and I’m glad I left when I did. I was getting out of hand with the partying in a small town. My charity work comes from seeing a lot of bullshit that goes on in a reservation. I try to use the spotlight of the media to bring social cause to the forefront that wouldn’t normally be picked up by the mainstream media. One of the causes I’m in involved in is Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move. It’s to help inform people about eating healthy and getting exercise.

Where will the film world take you ideally, and where will photography take you ideally?
I don’t know where the film world will take me. I hope just to keep working. I love what I do. I’m a pretty lucky guy that gets to have a job that I already love to do. I learned a long time ago that you really can’t make a plan. Life takes you where you’re supposed to be. As a photographer? I hope that I can capture some really beautiful images. I hope one day to shoot some amazing landscape for National Geographic, or do a photo shoot with someone like Waylon Jennings. I love faces that tell a story.

You’re having way more than 15 minutes of fame, but I know you as this shy, polite guy. Is there a hunger for the limelight and loot? What else is driving you?
I’m not big into the limelight stuff. I found that out after the media blitz of Twilight, that the spotlight is not my thing. It’s a part of the job, and I can live with that. But it does make me uncomfortable. I try to keep a low profile while I’m in NYC. I do notice I’m getting more and more noticed in my hood. I do love making movies though. It’s like joining a circus. Playing pretend and having fun. And being a photographer is an outlet I have. It keeps the boredom away. Keeps me being creative. I had an acting teacher tell me once, “Don’t be an actor. Be an artist.” I try to live by those words in everything I do.

Tonight: Partying with Erik Foss, Domi Dollz, & Shell Sheddy

I’m not going to sweat it, but I did RSVP for multiple events tonight that I can’t possibly physically attend unless "Scottie" starts to "beam me" around town. Two of them are uptown and the other two are downtown. Guess which two get my fabulous face.

OK, I’m gonna try. First on the list is a group show opening that includes my bro (we even have bro tattoos) Erik Foss. The show WAVE is presented by MISC and includes artists Judy Chicago, Michael St. John, Peter Alexander, Amany Ahmad, Shelter Serra, Colton Brown, Tom Forkin, and Angel Otero. It’s at the Fuller Building, 41 east 57th street, suite 702. If you’re into it, email info@misc-nyc.com or call 917 370 6423. While I’m up there I might as well scoot over to Hudson Terrace, 621 West 46th Street, for the APM Models’ Summer Party. I’m tight with Penny Basch and love their events.

Or, I just may stay south and pop into the last Domi Dollz evening for the summer at the Museum of Sex. These wonderful gals never fail to stand and deliver. They are sexy and sweet – sometimes – and the event promises lots of "boy toys.” The people I have sent to these soirees tell me that they can be life changing for them and theirs. It is quite educational, with zero chance of falling asleep in class.

I will surely attend photographer Shell Sheddy’s opening at Bar 82, 136 Second Avenue. This event starts at 7pm and ends at 11pm, after which the whole posse will scoot over to Hotel Chantelle for the after party, where I will DJ rock and roll with Sam Valentine. The show is titled "LES Images: The Creativity, Community and Struggle Continues," and promises that "we will be graced with Sheddy’s breath-taking visuals of raw humanity and real world, life-affirming spirit."

I also want to mention a fundraiser that I am honored to lend my name to. Old friend Don Welch asked me to help out:

"I need your help with this fundraiser I’m doing for Gwen McCrae; she suffered a massive stroke in London (June 3rd) & is paralyzed on her left side. The family is trying to get her home to Florida & it’s really expensive. I would like to put your name on the invite as a supporter & would love for you to attend. The date of the event is Tuesday August 21st @ ANJA on Little West 12th Street, NYC. Colonel Abrams & Melba Moore so far are the host, but lots of folks are calling in. Let me know what you think. Thanks."

Gwen McCrae is famous for her hit "FUNKY SENSATION.” The dance community has gotten on board big time. The outpouring of support, and the DJs and talent that have since gotten involved speaks volumes of the love and class always shown by Gwen. I will do a follow-up post just before the event to give you more details, but I wanted to get this to you early enough for you to purchase tickets and support this fine lady. Tickets can be acquired from www.ticketweb.com. Call 866 468 7619 for more information.

Peter Beard

The Half Tarzan, Half Poet who captured Africa.

Peter Beard, the original wild-man-poet-adventurer, has been as fearless roaming the nightclubs of Manhattan as the plains of Kenya. He liked to surround himself with dangerous things. Sometimes pretty women, drugs and booze; other times lions, guns and trampling elephants. For the son of a wealthy industrialist, this was not the typical career choice.

Beard’s dashing spirit inspired the likes of Mick Jagger, Salvador Dali and Francis Bacon. Andy Warhol, his friend and neighbor (in Montauk, NY) once described Beard as:

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“One of the most fascinating men in the world…he’s like a modern Tarzan. He jumps in and out of the snake pit he keeps at his home. He cuts himself and paints with the blood. He wears sandals and no socks in the middle of Winter. He lived in a parked car on 13th Street for six months. He moved when he woke up and found a transvestite sleeping on the roof.”

Even though this Tarzan had many Janes, the one who stirred the loincloth of his youth was the brilliant Danish author Karen Blixen (aka Isak Denison) who wrote Out of Africa. The novel inspired Beard to travel to Africa in the late 50s, barefoot and penniless, but it was the beginning of a creative period that would inspire his magnificent journals and artworks.

Beard’s defining secret may be that he does not care (or know) what the world thinks of him. He is a photographer who has contempt for photography, a diarist whose words are pictures and his pictures, words. He is a city playboy who only feels at home in the wild. He is a trust-fund kid who was perennially broke.

 Text by Howard Collinge- The Unique Creatures 

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Lee Miller

Model. Muse. Fearless War Correspondent.

After gracing the covers of Vogue and being the muse and lover to a famous artist, she could have cashed in on her beauty and fame. But instead, Lee Miller became a leading war correspondent, documenting the atrocities of the Second World War and Nazi concentration camps. She also became an awesome cook.

The genius of the girl from Poughkeepsie NY was that she was able to live many lives when most of us barely live one. Not content with being a famous model, Miller left New York for the gritty bohemian life of 1930s Paris, where she met her man and match, Man Ray. But her restlessness and intellect got the better of her and she started taking her own photographs.

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In 1942, she embarked on a new career as a photojournalist, accredited into the U.S. Army as a war correspondent (the first female to do this) and traveled to France less than a month after D-Day. She recorded the first use of napalm at the siege of St. Malo, the liberation of Paris, the battle for Alsace, and the horror of the Nazi concentration camps at Buchenwald and Dachau. Where her fashion world contemporaries where photographing Chanel and Tiffany’s, Miller photographed dying children in a Vienna Hospital, peasant life in post-war Hungary and finally the execution of Prime Minister László Bárdossy.

Not surprisingly on her return to Britain, Lee suffered from severe clinical depression and what later became known as post-traumatic stress syndrome. She began to drink heavily and rely on various narcotics to cope with her post-war life.

In 1949, she and then husband, surrealist painter and poet Roland Penrose, bought Farley Farm House in Sussex, England. During the 1950s and 1960s, Farley Farm became an artistic Mecca for visiting artists such as Picasso, Man Ray, Henry Moore, Eileen Agar, Jean Dubuffet, Dorothea Tanning, and Max Ernst.

While Miller continued to do the occasional shoot for Vogue, she soon discarded the darkroom for the kitchen becoming a successful gourmet cook. However, images from the war, especially the concentration camps, continued to haunt her and she started on a yet another downward spiral.

Lee Miller eventually died from cancer at Farley Farm House in 1977, aged 70. She was cremated, and her ashes spread through her herb garden at Farley Farm House.

 Text by Howard Collinge- The Unique Creatures 

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Aaron Eckhart Wants to Be the New Steven Meisel

Seemingly every other week a Hollywood celebrity announces the launch of his or her fragrance, accessories collection or full-on fashion line. But as far as I can remember, never before has a celebrity tried to break into the word of fashion photography. Until now. Apparently Aaron Eckhart of The Dark Knight and No Reservations fame fancies himself a budding fashion photographer. He even shot a look book for model Molly Sims’ (who rumor has it he dated in 2009) recently launched jewelry line, Grayce. Eckhart even told People magazine, “I’m obsessed with it–it’s all I do… [and] that’s really the only thing I think about,” of the practice.

In addition to high-fashion rags like French Vogue, Italian Vogue and L’Uomo Vogue, Eckhart sites Bruce Weber and Peter Lindbergh as his major inspirations. “Hopefully I’ll do exhibitions and all that sort of stuff. I’m really just a photography geek. I just love to shoot,” he added. Considering fashion photography is as competitive an industry as that of making it as a major Hollywood director, Eckhart has a long way to go.

Meanwhile, Eckhart is also rocking a new beard that may actually point to his own fashion savvy. According to the Telegraph, the beard is no longer “weird.” That’s right, “until recently, wearing a beard would have placed you on society’s peripheries – the real-ale pub, the Greek Orthodox monastery, the homeless shelter,” says the paper. I’ll let the overstatement of the century be for now, but it is worth pointing out that these days seemingly everything comes back to homeless chic.