Nicole Blaje


During my adventure with Nicole last Sunday I roped her into helping me practice photography. Usually I try to be “in and out” like a quickie, if we’re talking semi-crude analogies. Seriously though, if I take any longer than 60 seconds the subject usually starts to feel awkward. It’s a subtle shift in the energy I can feel. People are so honored to be stopped but like clockwork the self-consciousness starts to kick in at the one minute mark. It’s the strangers staring at us on the sidewalk that ruins the energy. I want to capture the ebullience and joy of that moment when a person is stopped for a street-style photo. If I take too long, that energy begins to fade and the camera picks that up. With me, it’s usually 10 ultra-quick snaps in the span of 15 seconds. Street-style is like catching birds of paradise. I need to capture the image then set them free immediately, before their feathers start to wilt. Can you tell I like analogies?

Being a portrait photographer demands the ability to read and understand people at a very deep level. Subtle signals, like the tilt of an eyelid or a tightness in the jaw, subconsciously communicates discomfort to the person viewing the image. I am constantly scanning my subjects for such indicators. I try to capture the energy of the subject as they are, not change them. That’s why Candice Lake told New York Magazine that “street style photography is portraiture in 4 frames.” It’s true – we have a very limited window to capture the energy of a person on the street.

My point is that I can drag a friend like Nicole out into the street to practice shooting backlit shots using sunlight, like I did above. I can try all kinds of different angles, settings, and f-stops. I can make her wander around looking for the best backgrounds possible. That’s what friends are for, right? And her photo doesn’t look too shabby, so all our hard work was worth it. Thanks for being game Nicole, I love you!


Nicole Banks WM

Samantha Lurie in Sofia

Samantha WM

Samantha Leg WM

Samantha is the owner of ENAZ, a super hip boutique based in north suburban Highland Park. She is wearing a leg body chain from Sofia, a trend that was featured prominently in the Oak Street shop’s recent fashion show.