"I just like to document. I like to take something simple and try to make it look beautiful. Essentially I’m just taking a photo-diary but I want to look back at it in some years and think "wow, how cool was that!?"
Image: Photo by Adam Katz Sinding, Backstage Thom Browne, New-York Fashion Week Spring-Summer 2020
Adam Katz Sinding, formerly known as Le 21ème, is an American-born, Copenhagen-based photographer. A true innovator in the realm of street-style photography since 2003, Adam spends the majority of the year documenting the zeitgeist of the contemporary fashion industry on a global level.
Adam Katz Sinding, photo by Jonathan Daniel Pryce @garconjon
Adam published his first book in February of 2018. This Is Not A F*cking Street Style Book (Mendo/TeNeues), a monograph of sorts, is an astute collection of his work showcasing present-day’s major fashion events as well as top brands, and tastemakers, all captured through his own lens. In June of 2019, Adam published his second book, again with Mendo/TeNeues: Live From F•cking Everywhere chronicles his travels, setting aside fashion and focusing on the wonders our world has to offer.
ArtDependence talked to Adam about the art of capturing the people on the street.
Art Dependence (AD):Is your street fashion photography about people or clothes? Look or emotion?
Adam Katz Sinding (AKS): It's about people. The clothes excite me less and less every season. I’m much more interested in the individual. I like to see how peoples' style evolves however. So the clothes do play a part in it of course, but less and less each time I attend FW.
Photo by Adam Katz Sinding, Amalie Moosgaard Nielsen and Cecilie Moosgaard Nielsen, Copenhagen Fashion Week Fall-Winter 2020-2021, Copenhagen-Denmark
Photo by Adam Katz Sinding, After mfpen, Copenhagen Fashion Week Fall-Winter 2020-202, Copenhagen-Denmark
AD: Seems like you are in a search for authenticity in every place you visit. Are there special peculiarities of human appearance, something that triggers you to capture an image?
AKS: No, I just like to capture as many interesting faces as possible. The individuality is the interesting part.
AD: Plain face portrait shots are a constant feature in your works, is this a choice to emphasize a non-standardised vision of beauty?
AKS: It's not a conscious choice. I just think it's interesting how different and how similar we all look!
Photo by Adam Katz Sinding, After Fendi, Milan Fashion Week Fall-Winter 2019-2020
Photo by Adam Katz Sinding, After Ann Demeulemeester, Paris Fashion Week Mens Fall-Winter 2020-2021, Paris, France
Photo by Adam Katz Sinding, Backstage Area, New York Fashion Week Fall-Winter 2020-2021, New York City
AD: What is the idea of aesthetics that drives your photography?
AKS: I just like to document. I like to take something simple and try to make it look beautiful. Essentially I’m just taking a photo-diary but I want to look back at it in some years and think "wow, how cool was that!?"
Photo by Adam Katz Sinding, Backstage Thom Browne, New-York Fashion Week Spring-Summer 2020
AD: Many of your portraits are mostly forwardly captured with the face cropped. It looks like "your mark". Have you always had this kind of portrait composure?
AKS: I just like to shoot them this was for continuity purposes. I like them, when viewed in a sequence, to all follow the same format.
Photo by Adam Katz Sinding, Backstage Situationist, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi Spring-Summer 2020
Photo by Adam Katz Sinding, Lulu Leika Ravn Liep, Copenhagen Fashion Week Fall-Winter 2020-2021, Copenhagen-Denmark
AD: What do you communicate through your shots?
AKS: Nothing. Just to give a stranger a small idea of what it feels like to have been where I was. It's a bit egotistical, but I think that my life has been pretty interesting thus far, and it's also been beautiful enough to photograph and show others.
AD: Do you consider fashion street photography an art?
No. Not in my form. I think that true street photography is an art, but I'm too shy to shoot "regular" people on the street.
Photo by Adam Katz Sinding, Backstage Sacai, Paris Fashion Week Mens Fall-Winter 2020-2021, Paris, France
AD: What is the difference between artistic shots and reportage?
AKS: They can be the same. But reportage should not be altered or retouched in my opinion. The photo in reportage must show the story in one frame and be 100% authentic.
AD: Is there any difference in photographing professional models versus visitors to the fashion shows?
AKS: It's interesting to see the girls who walk Chanel...most in their teenage years. Then you see the clients who go to the show, mostly in the 40-80 year old range. It's an interesting psychological experiment to sell older people things by dressing up a young girl to help the client to feel like they are younger. I find it entertaining. Aside from the clients, the editors and stylists are more interesting for me as they actually need to go to the shows to see the collections to create their shoots and magazines, etc. Then there are the bloggers/influencers. They dont "need" to be at the shows, but are invited in order to sell the brand to a different audience. There are all different kinds of people at the show, and the level of their "need" to be there varies greatly.
Photo by Adam Katz Sinding, Backstage Byblos, Milan Fashion Week Fall-Winter 2019-2020
AD: Have you always felt free in making contact with people? Do strangers, whom you photograph, easily make eye-contact with you?
AKS: I do not talk to people I photograph except if I take their portrait, I address them very quickly, take the photo, and leave. I'm not trying to make friends.
AD: Do you take photos instinctually based on emotions or is this some kind of hunting formula?
AKS: Only reactionary. I don’t think about it much.
AD: What are your plans for 2020?
AKS: Try to survive. All of the Fashion Weeks have been cancelled and it seems like I wont be working again until September. Trying to save my money and hope that I will be able to afford a flight when the next FW starts.
Photo by Adam Katz Sinding, Goldie Williams, Copenhagen Fashion Week Fall-Winter 2020-2021, Copenhagen, Denmark
AD: Do you have a favourite place (country) to return to?
AKS: I live in Denmark and I love it here. Otherwise my home is in Washington State. I also really love Tbilisi, Georgia, and other parts of Georgia.
AD: Are there any artists you are inspired by?
AKS: Hans Feurer, Viviane Sassen, Diane Arbus, Lucien Freud, Francis Bacon, Egon Schiele.
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