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What makes the newcomer photography blog Boston Street Style stand out from the crowd, much like the quirky dressers that inhabit its photos? Clarity, craftsmanship, and point of view. The duo behind the logo adopts a "divide and conquer" approach to capturing Boston's most interesting people—not necessarily "best dressed" in the traditional sense, but subjects with character, charisma, and confidence in their appearance.
Founders Krista Casey and David Kavaler met in the photography classrooms of Northeastern University, bonding over a common interest in street portraiture. Fast forward several years later and the couple spends their days behind computer screens—Krista as a graphic designer and David as an art director—and their spare time behind a camera lens. We excitedly poked and prodded the creative force behind what is poised to be Boston's top daily read, further confirming why we predict 2013 will be a big year for the pair.
What made you decide to start the blog itself?
David Kavaler: We both actually did separate blogs. I started one with a lot of street photography, mostly just trying to shoot and post a picture every day—I made it about 7 months. I've always been interested in street photography, that's what I was mainly doing as we got further along at NU. My thesis was portraiture. I was going out and lugging around going up to any old person and doing street photography as much as I could. Krista has more of a fashion background.
Krista Casey: Yes, my blog was more of a personal style blog. I took a photo of my outfit everyday, which is fun, but the photography can only be so good. So like Dave said, Boston Street Style is the merging of his street photography background and my fashion sense. We've been following the trend for a long time, and at one point I was in between jobs and Googled "Boston Street Style" and realized no one is doing this.
DK: There were people trying to do it, but no one doing it as well as we thought we could.
KC: We think the level of the photograph is as important as the level of the outfit, so like Dave said, no one was bringing it to that level here, which it deserves. We thought we could tackle it.
How do you fit this vision and somewhat lofty undertaking in to your life? How do you balance it with your day jobs? Coffee slash photo breaks?
KC: My office is right near the Pru so I do shoot on my lunch break sometimes. Dave is not as accessible during the week, but we definitely shoot on the weekends a lot. Usually we divide and conquer.
DK: Sometimes we will shoot together, but most of the time we just go out separately.
KC: We can cover more neighborhoods that way.
Which neighborhoods are your favorite for people watching?
KC: Definitely Back Bay, Harvard Square. Dave has been going to Downtown Crossing. And even Allston, which has a very specific look, but we do like to tap into that and see what's happening there.
DK: Back Bay and Newbury definitively have the highest concentration of people. But we really try to get as much of this city as possible, and I think we're finding that pretty much everywhere we go, we'll find someone.
Image courtesy of Boston Street Style
What draws you to a person? A charisma? An energy?
DK: It's hard to say. People that are trying something new or something we haven't seen before.
KC: When you do see that standout person you kind of know, "That's what I want!"
Do you follow any seasonal runway trends and try to seek them out when shooting?
DK: It's organic. More responding to what we see than try to see something we've seen before. That's how trends get started.
I feel your blog shows a lot of eclectic, pattern mixing that isn't necessarily defined, which is why I think it's cool that you ask people to describe their own style. Are there are adjectives or descriptive phrases people have used that were surprising to you or stood out in your memory?
DK: I just found someone who described their style as a "Pirate of the Future." And it fit him.
KC: I like when people are spot on. One girl said "bubblegum goth" and I thought, "Yeah! That's it."
Was it hard for you to start approaching people? Is it something that comes naturally to you or did you have to practice that skill?
KC: To Dave, definitely.
DK: I've been doing street photography much longer than we've been doing the blog. I got over that a long time ago.
KC: But for me it took a while. I don't really like when strangers approach me on the street, so I was taking that angle where I didn't want to bother anyone or waste their time. When we first started I was rushing, and then my photos weren't where I wanted them to be. I also think the more relaxed I am, the more relaxed my subject will be. If someone is uncomfortable we'll give them a few ways to pose. So I've warmed up to it.
Have people started recognizing your name and brand?
DK: It happened way faster than I ever would have thought, within a month.
KC: We hand them a business card with our logo, and we put time into developing it. It's a recognizable icon and it clicks. That's very gratifying.
Which street photographers historically are your favorites?
DK: I don't know if I have one. When I started to get into photography I was really attracted to what David Lachapelle was doing. I gravitate more toward other people's studio photography.
KC: Gregory Crewdson.
DK: His stuff is so cinematic, but also very realistic looking.
KC: I've actually been obsessed with Diane Arbus for a really long time. She kind of started in fashion, and then her street photography took a strange turn. But her portraits are really nice.
Image courtesy of Boston Street Style
Do you ever think your work with Boston Street Style will head toward the studio and off the street?
KC: Definitely. That's a goal for us. We did this feature with Ball and Buck where we went into their store, and I think that's the direction we want to move in.
DK: Yeah, not so much studio work, but staged shoots.
KC: There are stores in Boston that we'd love to work with, like Bobby from Boston.
Are there any challenges to working as a couple?
DK: We've been dating a lot longer than we've been doing the blog, which helps.
KC: We are very honest with each other about what it or isn't working.
DK: We both have different strengths, too. I'm more competitive.
KC: Are you saying it helps that if I take a good photo you want to take a good one?
DK: Yeah, we feed off each other.
What made you decide to do a questionnaire with your photos?
KC: You also want to give the subjects the opportunity to speak for themselves. We also have a really strong opinion on listing what people are wearing. We don't want to do that because we don't care about labels and don't want outfits to be judged. We just care that they are mixing up their things in a creative way. That's why we ask for favorite stores. If you like their outfit, you'll probably also like where they shop.
Plus a lot of the people you're photographing have worn-in looks. No one is rocking full brand new designer outfits. And a lot of people seem to have vintage on.
KC: Yeah, I think that's one of the things we're attracted to. We love secondhand shopping.
What are you favorites around town?
KC: Bobby from Boston, Buffalo Exchange, Rescue, Boomerangs (even though you have to dig a little bit more), SoWa Vintage Market.
Do you follow any blogs?
KC: The Sartorialist is huge for us because he is really doing street style portraiture. Even others like Street Peeper are more paparazzi style. We look at it for outfits but we're not taking cues from his portraiture. We like Humans of New York, which isn't really style based, but it's all the people who make up NYC.
DK: I think the interesting thing about both him and the Sartorialist is that I don't think either has any formal training. They just started doing it and kept getting better and better. It takes discipline and craft.
Image courtesy of Boston Street Style
Do you always carry your cameras on you?
KC: A lot, more in the summer. Now when it gets dark before work ends, it's hard to find light. In the summer it's most leisurely. A lot of people asked how we could sustain it in the winter, and it's definitely do-able, it's just a different pace.
DK: The one time we actually shot at night was Fashion's Night Out and we brought lights with us, but to do that all the time, it might lose its effect.
What predictions do you have for the website in 2013 and maybe for Boston style in general?
KC: I always knew Boston fashion was here and that maybe people were shy or a little bit afraid. I hope the blog makes people a little more brave, I guess? We hope it makes Bostonians more experimental. I would see that as a win.
DK: I think it would be cool if the blog made fashion become more accessible in Boston.
How do you think the student body of Boston can help influence the city's style?
DK: Keep on doing what they are doing. These people are from all sorts of different places, which is how other cities have developed such great style. It's a melting pot of people.
KC: Boston students get a bad rap, but we think they are the most experimental of all the group's we've seen. If they keep doing that and we keep seeing them it will be helpful for Boston.
If there is one message that you hope Boston Street Style expresses about Boston fashion to people who are not from here what would it be?
DK: We just want people to see that Boston has a unique style. We have creative and fashionable people.
KC: I hope people realize that you can't label Boston. It's not all preppy people wearing boat loafers. We have diverse looks to offer.
· Boston Street Style [Official Site]