A large number of new self-labelled street style photographers have emerged overnight and decided that it is their responsibility to start blogs. Enough cash to pay for a decent camera and the illusion of action will not teach you how to take a good picture. Blogs are extraordinarily self-centred organisms and so many of us are too ready to believe that they can produce beautiful and inspiring images of stylish people on the streets of Paris, London, New York and Tokyo. There should be a manual to help would be Sartorialists understand that it’s not as simple as it seems and that a successful outcome will not always miraculously materialize. In fact, most of the time it doesn’t and leaves no impact on the overall tone of blog culture. Our appetite for pictures of real girls and boys with a natural fashion presence keeps growing and encourages a flow of frustrating third-rate photography. How to deal with stuff on the internet is up to each individual and the weight we give it but the self-confidence and boastfulness of various “style” photographers is becoming almost insufferable. I’ve noticed a pattern repeating itself continuously in the past few months: the blogosphere is slowly turning into a land of photographers with a complacent sense of superiority and not living up to their own promise. Where will it all end? Obviously I should simply ignore the dull offenders and stop being so hostile but it’s not as easy as it seems when you’re constantly searching for fresh inspiration. For one irresistible and thrilling blog there are ten crap ones! It’s tiresome.
But I’m happy to report that occasionally I will find an individual devoted to producing interesting and beautiful work. I first came across Bill Gentle’s photography early last year while exploring his girlfriend’s wonderful blog. Immediate merciful relief! With Backyard Bill, Gentle has updated the idea of street style photography and has created a compelling inventory of intensely poetic images of stylish boys and girls in intriguing locations. His vision is truly original and his blog is simply one of the best of its kind. Every time he updates it I know that I’m going to be taken on a little captivating adventure and I won’t be able to let go. I admire the meticulously observed stylistic details, the soft and flattering light, impeccable technical abilities, the sense of authenticity and intimacy, the depths of introspection attributed to personal mementoes like a car, a bicycle, a garden or a chair. His images are modern love tokens, responses of the photographer to his subjects. He doesn’t just focus on the clothes but heightens the magic with a sense of contemporary immediacy.
All pictures courtesy of Backyard Bill