ANTOINE DE ALMEIDA: A FRESH LOOK AT STREET STYLE
Paris-based street-style fashion photographer Antoine de Almeida has been snapping images of the biggest street-style stars in Paris Fashion Week for the last couple of years. His point of view on style is documented through a curated selection of beautiful styles on SS&E, his personal photojournal. His work has appeared on magazines and retail websites, the likes of Vrients, Attaque Française, WAD, Valerio, North Hill, and Sophia Ka. We sat down with de Almeida, currently a fashion management student, to discuss street-style photography, what he looks for before shooting an image, and his ultimate goal within the industry.
How long have you been shooting, and what made you interested in street style?
I started shooting a little more than a year and a half ago. I had been wanting to pick up photography for a while, but didn’t quite know what to shoot. Since I had a great interest for fashion and style, and wanted to work in this industry, I decided to go for street style. I figured it would allow me to meet people from the industry, and get my name out there.
What interests you more when taking a picture? Do you go for the whole look or just details?
I’m truly more interested in shooting a style, a gait, a personality rather than just the clothes. If the style works or seem effortless, I will shoot. If it is just an accumulation of brands with no sense of style, I won’t. It’s about the clothes, of course, but not only. It is really about how I feel when watching someone walk, talk, laugh, smoke a cigarette, get out of a car… I naturally have a mix of detail and full-look shots. Sometimes, the details are more important than the look itself, and vice-versa.
Of all the street style stars you have photographed, who would you say stays true to its style each season?
I would say, examples of people who have their own distinctive style and stick with it are Angelo Flaccavento, Anya Ziourova, Nick Wooster, Simone Marchetti, Sofie Valkiers, Linda Tol, Veronika Heilbrunner, Caroline Issa, Justin O’Shea… There are so many!
Do you ever shoot with your phone?
Never. Only for Snapchat!
How do you feel about formal education on photography?
I guess it can’t be a bad thing. However, I don’t consider it necessary for what I do. I learned by myself, by making a lot of mistakes… One can learn photography by just shooting over and over until truly understanding how it works by learning from their mistakes.
Do you shoot street style outside of fashion week?
I sometimes do, but it’s more time-consuming, because obviously all the stylish people aren’t gathered in one place. It is also more challenging because people coming to the shows expect to have their picture taken. People in the streets really don’t. I enjoy doing it from time to time.
Where are you based currently? How easy is it for you to travel to keep up with all the fashion weeks?
I am currently based in Paris but I will be leaving for another country very soon. Travelling to other cities for fashion weeks is simply impossible for me because photography isn’t my main activity. I wish I could, but so far I’ve only shot Paris Fashion Week. Maybe some day I will shoot other ones…
Are you are interested in pursuing any other aspects of fashion photography?
Not really. For me, studio photography is boring because it is fake. What I look for when shooting is authenticity. I want to show what is happening, just as a photojournalist would. So all the staging that goes around studio photography really makes me uncomfortable, and I feel like shooting something that is not real or authentic. I want to stick to unprepared photography.
When it comes to street-style photography, can you really have a distinctive style and set yourself apart?
I really think you can. There is a ton of street style photographers and a lot of shots might look alike, if you look at them quickly; but you have to pay a little more attention to details, and spend more than three seconds looking at a photo on Instagram. The positioning of the subject, the angle, the light, the silhouette… they’re all tools to set your photo apart. I think a lot of photographers never find their own style when shooting, but a lot of them do. I like to think I fall into that category.
You are currently studying Fashion Management. What are your future plans?
I’m almost done with my studies; I’ll be leaving Paris soon for an internship. I want to become a fashion buyer and open a store one day. I’m really interested in what the future holds for high-fashion retail, how the trends in retail will evolve and how brick-and-mortar stores will survive facing the increase in online sales.
Images © Antoine de Almeida
Facebook: Antoine De Almeida