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The FATorialist
vivelafat wrote in fatshionista
Hello Fatties!
I was perusing The Sartorialist the other day and noticed, much to my chagrin, that fat women and men were woefully under represented. Surely there must be super fashionable fatties to photograph. If fatshionista has taught me anything it's that the thin do not have the market cornered on style.
So I was giving some thought to starting my own site dedicated to the fashionable in all of their glorious shapes and sizes. The difference between my site and the sites we have available now is that I would take and post photos of hot/awesome/unique/fashionable fatties that I saw out and about on the street. The content would not be user generated like the fatshionista flikr thread. Does something like this already exsist? Would you look at it if it did?
I run into issues, however, when it comes to actually photographing these rad men and women when I see them on the streets. What do I say? How can I approach them? Are their legal ramifications? What should I call my site (I desperately want to call it The FATorialist but I feel that is asking for a lawsuit) What do you think? Would you let someone photograph you if they came up to you on the street? These are the questions, only you have the answers.


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To play devil's advocate for the Sartorialist, most of the pics are from Manhattan, one of the thinnest areas of the nation. There are definitely fashionable fatties in NYC, but fewer than other places. Also, he comes from a high fashion background, so I'm sure the love of the thin is deeply pounded into his brain. Doesn't make it right though.
While I like the idea of more beautiful plus-sized people in this format, I think part of the appeal of the Sartorialist is that it seeks to find fashion on everyone in the everyday, not just a subset of society. Maybe you could do a local version, and make an effort to include people underrepresented on other similar blogs (teens, goths, punks, fatties, etc.).

Do you have statistics on Manhattan being one of the thinnest areas of the nation? Cause, uh, I spend most of my non-sleeping hours there and I find it really hard to buy that stat.

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I've actually been working on my own styleblog and am looking forward to responses to your post. Honestly, I think the biggest problem you'd run into is FINDING fashionable fats on the street to photograph. I know in my city they are few and far-between, and so limiting it to strictly the FATshionable could be a challenge. There's also the issue of FAT, and how a person on the street may take offense to being featured on a site where fat-fashion is featured (especially if they don't like being associated with fat, or don't consider themselves fat).

ALSO, I just read the cut, and omg THE LAST DRAGON FTMFW, best movie ever.

I agree that some fats would be offended by the very name of your site, not to mention being singled out and photographed for wearing the fatshuns. It would be hard not to think you were fucking with them to get their picture on some site that ridicules fats.

On the other hand, a Sartorialist-esque site that expanded beyond the narrow confines of NYC-Paris-Milan "people on the street" (which is b.s., by the way, since he frequently takes this pics on the steps outside fashion shows, and many of the peeps in his pictures are friends of his) would be made of win. I would look at it, especially if the photos were high quality (which is part of the Sartorialist's draw).

I agree on the Sartorialist's draw partly being the good photos, and also on the point about his tactics. You look at the neighborhoods he frequents, and they tend to be the "hip" ones.

OH GOD I would love to see this. Why don't you leave the fat out of it? That is to say, tell them you are taking pictures of street style in general. I don't know, this is a double edged sword, but if it helps I would totally let you photograph me (if I were stylish enough)!!

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I agree with this too.

Just do Street Style in "your city" or something like that.

I love this concept.

Printing up some nice business cards with your name, blog's name and URL would be a good idea. After you take their photo you can hand them out to them so they can check out their photo.

i think business cards make sense. I've been photographed a few times on the street and usually the person explains who they are and gives you a card with info/url first.

I am a fan of the Advanced Fashion blog - it is a fashion blog with photos of senior citizens. It gives me hope for my own rapidly approaching decrepitude.

Love it! I just linked to that above, too! :)

haha - i was just tweeting about how someone should start a fatshun version of Melbourne Street Style or something - that would be awesome!

Because fat people aren't photographed.*

we aren't. think about how many times you were cut off, or under represented at whatever event. I know after 5 years of fire dancing, that I often don't have clear pictures of me, because the camera guy goes "its a fat chick" better pull back for a wider angle shot...(and pull in for the skinny half-naked girl.) Or just leave you out of it... because they (as professional, or amateur photographers don't know how to make the "camera magic" happen without the comforts of the familiar. We are uncomfortable and distracting to the uninitiated. Not to mention.. How many people, regardless of size, who demand to see the digital images to delete the "fat pics" of themselves.

That and we can come out saying something else other than the "sartorial goal" -- like picture of black workers in haiti will always reference slavery, and photos of overworked women in front of barns will always reference WPA photographs, and/or Dorthea Lange. With fat people, the artistic vocab changes... so many avoid the challenge... of course they might just not want to look at you (or me) later. Which is sad. That unless the photographer is into the concept (ala Leonard Nimoy and others) The creative uncertainty overrides, even the shapshot.

I'd like to see this changed, because I'm kind of tired of being invisible in the memories of places/things that I was a part of. I look forward to seeing how this all manifests.


(*hyperbole, I know),

"I'd like to see this changed, because I'm kind of tired of being invisible in the memories of places/things that I was a part of. I look forward to seeing how this all manifests"

me too! I think you bring up many excellent points.

I think it's an excellent idea. I'd definitely go with the diverse body types/styles/etc. concept rather than singling out fats, if for no other reason than the fact that there's always going to be some average/thin folks out there with amazing style worth documenting! The business cards would be a nice touch, too.

My boyfriend and I spent last Thanksgiving in St. Augustine, FL. We were walking from our B&B to go to dinner and were approached by a man with a rather large, professional-looking camera. He said that we were a really great looking couple and asked if he could take our picture. We said ok, smiled for the camera, and he thanked us and headed off. It was totally random, but we both thought that it was pretty cool that someone wanted a picture of a couple of pudgy weirdos. In retrospect, I probably would have asked what the picture was for, just because I really wish I could have seen how it came out! Anyway, I'm usually somewhat camera-shy but that made my night. I think it was the photographer's genuine warmth that made us both let our guard down and go with it.

I just want to add I love sites like The Sartorialist, and I think he takes photos in other cities as well. I remember photos from London, Paris and other cities other than New York.

Here's another site I like too (also lacking fat people, but a few more older people, so that's a plus I guess?) www.hel-looks.com/
About: HEL LOOKS is selected street fashion from Helsinki, the capital of Finland. The pictures are taken in the streets and clubs of Helsinki from July 2005 ...

Regardless of how you approach them, I would recommend carrying a printout of your legal rights as a Photographer (here: http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm) at all times. A google search related to "model releases photography" would probably be educational as well.

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