The benefits go both ways. Schuman and Doré’s blogs have made a group of women—Dello Russo, Marie Claire’s Taylor Tomassi Hill, Italian Vogue’s Giovanni Battaglia—into online celebrities, which has changed their lives, too. Dello Russo, for example, has come out with a signature perfume. “In the beginning, I would say, ‘Why you want to make a picture of us?,’ ” she says. “And Scott said, ‘When I look at a fashion magazine, I don’t find anymore the look of fashion. I saw beautiful images, but not how you can put on a coat for life.’ And I would say, ‘This is very clever. In a magazine, the images are so high, they are so beautiful.’ They are talking about the dream, but they don’t have reference about how you do this for life. That’s why these blogs are a revolution.”
Another way of looking at it, of course, is that they are the perfect supplement to the editorial-advertising loop (especially when Schuman and Doré are not actually shooting ads), filling a crucial gap that went unidentified until after it was filled. Last year, for instance, there were some very beautiful camel-hair coats on the runway at Céline and elsewhere, and they kicked off a huge trend for camel that filled the racks at Barneys, Zara, and everywhere in between.
So Doré shoots three gorgeous women attending fashion shows in their camel coats (the real runway version), and Schuman shoots Doré shooting those gorgeous women, which means four thin and gorgeous ladies are captured working a trend as they go about their days.
And the fashion loop is complete.
Schuman is walking around Soho with his camera in hand. When the fashion shows are not on, he shoots every single day, typically in this neighborhood. He doesn’t take lots of pictures and edit later—he doesn’t bother taking a photograph at all if he doesn’t think there’s a serious chance it will be used, and so he often ends a session with only one or two photographs. It’s not a great day for fashion. The sky is low and gray, the streets are slushy and brown. Most people are bundled against the cold, having abandoned any pretense of peacocking. “In this kind of weather, guys are much easier to shoot,” he says. “Except for this whole urban-lumberjack thing. Garance calls it fat-guy clothes because all the fat fashion guys wear those clothes.” He likes the outfit on a tall, Lauren Hutton–type woman, but finds her mien unpleasant. “She doesn’t look very nice,” he says. His camera stays around his neck.
On Spring Street, Gabriel Byrne hurries past. His clothes are not unusual or exceptional, but he looks glamorous because, well, he is Gabriel Byrne and he has that fantastic Gabriel Byrne face. Also, his scarf is knotted nicely.
Schuman doesn’t flinch. “If he looked more cool, I would have shot him,” he says. “But he didn’t look that cool.” The same thing happened with Vincent Cassel a week before, he says. Schuman doesn’t really care much for celebrities in general. When he photographed Chloë Sevigny in the Tuileries after a Chloé show, he didn’t I.D. her on his site. The photo, presumably, was about her thick, knit minidress. When he photographed a model riding bikes in Paris with Adrian Grenier, he labeled the photo “Isabel and friend.”
On Mercer Street, a tall, handsome guy in jeans, a crew-neck sweater, a down vest, and a pair of horn-rimmed glasses walks by, and Schuman stops. “Do you mind if I take your picture?” There is nothing revolutionary about this guy’s look, but it’s certainly successful: Everything fits nicely. His smile is sweet. The whole interaction takes about two minutes, and then Schuman turns the corner onto Prince Street.