There are good street style photos and then there are great ones.. The kind that attract your attention over and over again..
I have often wondered what the ingredients of a great street style image are? Why is it that some go viral and others don’t? Fashion and documentary photographer Nick Leuze knows a thing or two about captivating photography, having created a unique niche for his work in the congested world of street style photography.
His photo may not be familiar to you, but his work certainly is, if you have an Instagram account.. The twenty-two year old German native who currently studies Journalism at University in Darmstadt, has had his images picked up by some of the world’s greatest publications including Vogue, WWD and NowFashion, a privilege not many have enjoyed. The images we are most familiar with are those taken during international fashion weeks, be it, Copenhagen, Milan, London or Paris.
Perhaps one of Leuze’s most characteristic traits is his ability to hone in on more than one element at a time. The result is a sum greater than its parts. If there is a word that best describes his formula for success, it would be the word ‘documentary’. That is truly where his passion lies, and a profession that he plans to pursue in both the realms of photography and film. This innate desire to document everything: the time, the place, the style and the detail has sent Nick apart. A quick glimpse at his latest work during Milan and Paris fashion week and you are bound to sense more than just an image but a conversation, a story is being told and it allows us to dream a little as well.
One of my favorite photos of Nick’s is from outside the Max Mara show in Milan this past season. The image of a show attendee, dressed in a head-to-toe chocolate brown ensemble, with a matching handbag and shoes, may not have warranted the attention of many other photographers; given the sheer propensity of people out to attract photographer’s attention with flashy color combinations and over-the-top looks.
Nick’s portrayal of the high-low skirt and cascading ruffles tells a story of romance and old-world glamour. The woman is clearly quite feminine, teetering towards the show. ‘Will she find a seat?’ we catch ourselves asking. In my mind the woman is a brunette, but perhaps you think she’s a blonde.. I imagine her makeup style, definitely soft with a strong lip..What do you imagine? All this was told by the photo, although it was taken from the waist down. It is this talent for storytelling, that has made Nick stand out after just two years in the street style industry.
We caught up with Nick, virtually of course. We were keen to better understand his vision and thought process. To be honest his answers are so precise and clear, we couldn’t but leave them completely as is!
As a street style photographer, you have a unique perspective on real fashion, on the streets, in different cities of the world. How would you describe the differences in fashion in the various fashion capitals of the world?
For fashion, my favorite city is Copenhagen. Scandinavian fashion just feels very refreshing and honest to me right now, so I always love doing Copenhagen Fashion Week.
I also really enjoy Milan, it’s super good for menswear even during women’s week. The vibe is usually great in Milan and the light is good.
Most photographers love Paris, I always struggle a bit there. The fashion is great as a lot of amazing brands show in Paris and people really bring their “A-game” when it comes to street style. It’s just super busy and the long days and the weather often pull me down a lot.
But the fashion is probably the best, objectively speaking.
Which of the iconic street style photographers inspire you, and how do you feel that street style fashion photography has changed over the years, given the incredible advancements in technology? Do you have any predictions for how things will be conducted in the future, with further technological advances? Will you be taking photos with a pair of eyeglasses for example.. or even with your brain ;))
I draw photography inspiration from a lot of sources, but I think the work of Adam Katz Sinding and Jonathan Daniel Pryce, was what first got me into street style photography.
These days I get a lot of my inspiration from documentary and portrait photography.
I actually don’t think there will be that much of a fundamental change in technology in the near future.
Camera tech is getting so good, that any camera that comes out these days is absolutely fine for most photography.
I suspect that phone cameras will keep getting better and will end up replacing “professional” cameras for a lot of people in the near future. Maybe there will be even more people shooting street style with a phone. But aside from that, I think most working photographers will be sticking to what they know, for now.
We all want to look good in photos. Please give us a few tips!
I would say, try to act natural. A lot of street style photographers look to take photos that are not overdone and posed too much. Don’t sweat it. Don’t try to be someone you’re not, I think most photographers and also most audiences will notice and see through that very quickly.
If you look comfortable and confident, you will look good in your clothes and in the photo.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I would love to transition more into documentary work at some point. Especially documentary film.
Street style posing for the photographer has reached sensational heights, with people working on outfits for days, to then parade them in the streets in the hope of being photographed by a street style photographer. It’s almost as if the roles have been reversed, they are almost hunting the photographers down… What do you think of this phenomenon?
Street style has gotten very very commercialized, but that has been the case for a few years now already. So it’s hard for me to comment on how it used to be before I started.
But I do get the sentiment that a lot of photographers are fairly annoyed by the commercialisation of it. A lot of it just feels very artificial and dishonest at this point, it has become very obvious that the core of street style has shifted to selling a product and “promoting” influencers. And I think the audience is starting to catch on to that too.
So yeah, I too would wish that we would have more opportunities to capture “real style” these days.
But there’s no point in lamenting it, you have to be able to adapt. I can’t make what people are wearing more interesting and unique. But I can try to change my style and perspective as a photographer in a way that keeps me passionate about it and shows something new and interesting to the viewer.
So what do street style photographers do after fashion weeks are over, and is there a future for this business. Like many other industries, we have seen many photographers come and go, eventually moving on to new professions.
In between Fashion Weeks, a lot of us keep working, photographing lookbooks or editorials amongst other things. I’m still in University, so that also happens in-between seasons. Aside from that, I try to work on personal projects, get things organised and plan for the next Fashion Week.
Why do you do street style photography? Is it a real passion or something else entirely?
I do it because I love doing it, 100%. In spite of everything, I still very much enjoy travelling for Fashion Week and photographing fashion.
I love that it allows me to meet so many amazing people and I’m always excited to see everyone again before a new season.
So as long as my feelings towards that don’t change, I will try to find ways to keep photographing Fashion Week.