Fashion Industry New Zealand (FINZ)
New Zealand radio and television host, Wallace Chapman, has combined his passion for photography, urban landscapes and people watching in a new website, Street and City Photos, which documents street-style in Auckland and Wellington.
A long-time patron of public transport, the political commentator says the concept stems from hours spent gazing at the canvas of the street and faces of the city.
“I see everything in stills; I always have, even as a kid. So, photography, as an art form and a hobby, has been with me for a long time,” says Chapman.
“For years, I’ve carried a camera with me. So, I started photographing portraits on the street; not just fashion, but interesting people.”
While street-style photography is well established overseas, with the likes of Scott Schuman (The Sartorialist) and Bill Cunningham (New York Times) having achieved worldwide recognition, there hasn’t been a strong tradition in New Zealand; until now.
Many of Chapman’s images have an intimate quality; something that requires him to earn the trust of his subjects very quickly. His hit rate used to be 50/50, but only around 10 percent of people refuse to have their portrait taken these days.
“What I look for first is the face of someone interesting; it’s the portrait. I’m quite close-up, as opposed to that long fashion shot. And, that takes quite a bit of convincing,” says Chapman.
“You’ve got to hustle in New Zealand. This isn’t Milan, where you ask someone if you can take their photo and they say: ‘Sure. How do you want me to stand?’”
The city is also a ‘character’. Chapman often shoots in front of classic buildings – “I love that history” – and his preferred locale is city central, with its broad mix of people.
“I enjoy seeing cities in photos and people in photos and clothing in photos. And, all three naturally came together. It’s a hobby and I love it.”