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A Conversation With….Renowned Street Style Photographer Robert Spangle

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end_clothing
Nov 03 2019

"Style as I find it, man at his best, and women who steal your heart one frame at a time.“


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Taking in the like of ParisMilanNew YorkLondon, and Los Angeles so frequently it would put any travel journalist to shame, Robert Spangle talks to us about how he made it as one of the world’s best at capturing street style, without having any intention of being a photographer. Branching out beyond street style to deliver exclusive backstage content from the fashion show, and multi-destination travel guides for the off-the-beaten-track aficionados, Robert’s well-seasoned approach to fashion and lifestyle transcends single categorisation.

Working for the likes of GQ, VOGUE, Plaza Uomo, and recently becoming END.’s exclusive street-style photographer, we sat down with Robert to talk all things streetstyle, travel, photography, and ambition.

END.: What first made you interested in street style photography?

Robert: I never had any intention of being a photographer. Blind luck that when I put a camera in my hand for the first time, my beautiful girlfriend helped me practice… after that, I just followed my own curiosity in the ways people were dressing. After two years I had to admit to myself that I enjoyed photography more than designing or tailoring – so I pursued that instead.

END.: Do you believe there are rules to street style etiquette?

Robert: I photograph strangers, generally without any explanation. It took years to get comfortable with this, but I feel comfortable photographing people because I’m accountable. I always explain to people who I am and what I’m doing – after I get my shot. I’m objective. I point cameras, not fingers.

END.: Where is your favourite place to shoot when you’re not at fashion week?

Robert: Torino, in Northern Italy. It has all the baroque opulence of Paris, the warmth and tailoring of Italy, but none of the crowds.


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END.: Do you find it a competitive industry?

Robert: No. I think it’s a hard industry to get into initially, but if you have the passion then you live for it and eventually, that becomes a living. There is a persistent belief that the fashion industry is cold and backstabbing – a “cant sit with us attitude” – but that has never been my experience. The industry is made with passionate people that recognize and harbour passion in others. I look at other photographers as brothers, I relish the competition between us because it’s exciting and fun, never too serious. We each have our own eye, our own style and in the end that can’t be copied, just learned from.

END.: Is there anyone you frequently see and photograph each time?

Robert: I can only think of a few people that I’ve photographed every single time I’ve seen them, and they’re at the extremes of style; the avant-garde like Luke Day and Gary Armstrong, or the real classicists like The Armory guys. I think at both ends of the spectrum you transcend time, completely stepping out of the notion of fashion, so to me even a style I don’t like today might be a relevant image 20 years from now.

END.: It is only recently that street style photography took off. Why do you think that is?

Robert: Street style photography is really just a niche of street photography, a niche inside of a niche, however with the advent of the internet and social media platforms that niche has found a global home, and become incredibly popular. Street style is also very democratic, global, inclusive and objective, all of which mirrors changes in the fashion industry over the last 10 years.


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END.: What inspires you to photograph an individual’s style?

Robert: Anything that’s authentic, challenging or creates a narrative, and in the best case, gives rise to an amalgam of ineffable pause and attraction.

END.: Where do you see street style photography taking your career?

Robert: I don’t see a point in my career where I don’t have a camera in my hand and on the street daily. The street is always a point of observation and inspiration for me and while the ideas I find come across in that process are leading to more and more editorials, the street remains the foundation of my process.

END.: You were recently voted one of the top 5 street style photographers in the world. What do you consider to be the main difference between yourself and other Street Style photographers

Robert: Well, we all have our own eye, a different way of seeing that is always present in our work. For me, I think that my background in tailoring and curiosity at the male spirit always shines through.

END.: If you could give advice on someone wanting to photograph street style, what would it be?

Robert: If you’re looking to become a photographer, the only thing I can say is to get out there and shoot every day, shape your life around getting the images you want, and treat the entire process as a discipline, editing, getting your work out, studying photography… it’s all important.


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