Sacha Martin, Isabel Marant Fringe Boots (A Saga)

How I met Sacha Martin, co-owner of two amazing boutiques in Minneapolis, is kind of a funny story. Walking around meeting random strangers all day tends to create them more often than not! So I was walking up and down Rush Street last Sunday, back when it was still warm enough for me to [mistakenly] leave my gloves at home. Won’t make that mistake again. My hands had started to freeze so I decided to duck into Barneys to thaw off.
One of my favorite things about street-style hunting in the winter is that I have an excuse to go into amazing stores to warm up and window shop. I was walking around inside Barneys trying to warm up while admiring the Celine. Good fashion warms the soul too, right? And out of the corner of my eyes I spotted the most amazing pair of Isabel Marant fringe boots on a drop dead gorgeous woman meandering around the second floor.
I did the thing I never do. 
I went up to Sacha and asked if those were indeed Isabel Marants. Of course they were, what a dumb question! I only asked it so I had an excuse to talk to her, and casually mention that I am a street-style photographer and I would love to photograph her outside – when she was done shopping of course. She smiled and said ‘yes, definitely!’ I am ethically and morally opposed to pulling people out of stores. First I think it’s cheating, secondly I think it’s unethical to pull a [potentially] paying customer out of a business establishment, and thirdly I think it reflects poorly on the photographer in the eyes of sales associates and other customers. The second someone I spot walks into a store, if I didn’t have a chance to catch up to them, I give up.
But I knew Sacha’s photo was going to be so good! So I waited. And waited. And waited. I watched the sun set at a heart-wrenchingly early 4 p.m. I slowly witnessed the shadows crawl farther and farther up the gleaming 900 Tower, whose windows shone like jewels in the fading sunlight. The worst part of winter for me isn’t the blistering wind, the freezing cold temperatures, or even the metropolis-disabling snowstorms. It’s the lack of sunlight. I thought about all this while I stood silently on the sidewalk, pacing up and down Rush looking for other people to photograph in the meantime.
Then finally, after what seemed like an hour but was really only 20 minutes, she appeared like a mirage out of the side door! My patient efforts had not been in vain! The sun had almost fallen too low, and I had to manually set my shutter speed to 1/60 to prevent blur. It had become that dim, even with a fully open aperture at f/1.4. I’m so happy I broke my own rule just a tiny bit. Sacha and her boyfriend Davey were cool as hell, incredibly nice, and excited to meet me. Both had not only heard of my website, they’d actually read it! We chatted about their backgrounds; as I mentioned at the beginning of this post Sacha is a co-owner of Bluebird and LadySlipper in Minneapolis. Davey produces music videos, and his photo will be going up in the next week or so too. I was (and am) so flattered that  two amazing people like them read my blog. Like I said in the video for The Feast/NBC Chicago, it literally DOES make me the happiest person in the world. What an honor!
Follow Sacha on twitter, @SachaMartin, and make sure to check out her stores if you’re ever in Minneapolis.

All Smiles: Taylor Tomasi Hill & Joanna Hillman

Joanna Taylor Laughing

There is so much I love about this photo of Marie Clare‘s Taylor Tomasi-Hill and Joanna Hillman from Harper’s Bazaar. Sure, they’re both dripping in insanely fashionable items. I was obviously drooling over the Alexander Wang ribbon skirt and leather clutch. There’s nothing particularly surprising about these women looking phenomenally good, although I must admit that Joanna gives Anna Dello Russo a run for her money in the “most toned legs” street-style award category.

Beyond all the hip accessories and bleeding-edge fashion, what is this a photo of? Friends laughing together. It’s so simple, a universal human experience, people bonding over a good chuckle. I love that Joanna is the one who made Taylor laugh. Every time I saw the two interact on the street they appeared to be genuine friends. Great photos cause an emotional reaction, and this one sparks a natural sense of curiosity about the subjects. A really great photo, particularly a street-style photo, has to contain a number of different layers. For me, there needs to be a depth that goes beyond composition and lighting (although obviously I’m working on those, too). There has to be a soul. A two-dimensional, soul. After all, that’s what makes still photography so tough!

Viki: Sunset Street Style in Wicker Park

Viki Close-Up

When I saw Viki chatting with her friend Mary outside of Eskell on Milwaukee Ave, I couldn’t resist another go at playing with solar flare. Her striking features were highlighted by the beige slouchy sweater, which allows the focus to remain on her ring-encrusted hands and gorgeous figure. What I love most about this picture is how the fuzzy open knit weave of her top allows the sunlight to slice the most perfect outline around her body. As my photography skills evolve I’m becoming more obsessed with using light in prominent ways throughout my images, from rim lighting to solar flare.

*Thanks to my eagle-eyed friend, MidweStyle blogger Jeff Kieslich, Viki’s sweater has been identified as the Helmut Lang Scoop Neck Sweater.