For someone who makes a living photographing eccentric street style around the world, Face Hunter's Yvan Rodic is surprisingly unassuming. “I’m not more unusual than anyone else,” he says. “In the beginning, I would see someone I liked and just snap it.” Rodic was working as a copywriter in Paris when he started taking pictures. Born in Switzerland and raised in London and Paris, he found he had a naturally perceptive eye. “I didn’t have any background in photography or fashion,” he says. “I just moved to Paris and started making friends in fashion, and I thought it would be interesting to share what I see.” He started posting his photos to his blog in January 2006. Six months later, he received an e-mail from Men.Style.com (now GQ.com) asking him to cover Fashion Week. It was his first time in New York. More offers and gigs rolled in, and within a year he was making a living off his blog. “My life has completely changed. When I first started, I had a normal job, lived in one city, and everything was standard,” he says. “Now it’s getting completely surreal.” Today, Facehunter.blogspot.com and YvanRodic.blogspot.com generate more than a million hits a month combined.
In the past year, he published a book, launched a web TV show, and started lecturing — he just returned from a trip to UCLA to talk to students about blogging culture. Though he’s in a different city each week (his travel route this month takes him to Australia, Singapore, Bangkok, and Hong Kong), we caught up with the roving photographer to discuss his whirlwind career, the end of the camel trend, and the Parisian fashion bubble.
How has the blog evolved since 2006?
I started to be more photo-aware and take my time. Where it used to be a snapshot, now a shoot can take half an hour or more; I’ll walk with someone for ten blocks to find a better location or better light. It’s more about composition.
My spectrum is also much wider. It started with street style, but now it’s more about contemporary culture in general rather than just cool people who look good. It’s a documentation of what’s happening in different cities, from architecture to food to fashion.
What’s your goal going forward?
I like to showcase emerging talents in different parts of the world that are not necessarily known for fashion and creativity — places like Moscow that tend to get negative coverage in the media. I’d also like to do more documentary television and films. I don’t necessarily want to be another fashion photographer. My audience is on the Internet, and I really want to explore that field.
What are you looking for when you’re out shooting in a new city? What draws you to a particular subject?
I’m halfway in the fashion world and halfway outside. I’m not a fashion expert. I just have this genuine eye — I look at people in a naïve way. I’m looking for the intersection of creativity and beauty; interesting personalities. I’m attracted to people who stand out and are confident in a healthy way, someone who’s not trying to be another stereotype.
What do you see as the differences between the major fashion cities?
On a regular day in Paris, you can get millions of photos. It’s a fashion capital, but it’s like a fashion bubble. The difference between Paris and places like New York or London is that the people who work with the designers go out and play in bands, they experiment with other work. In Paris, it’s more about the shows, whereas in New York it’s a larger cultural scene.
Where do you like to shop in New York?
I love the B Store shoes at Opening Ceremony.
How would you describe your personal style?
I have a style that doesn’t change between day and night. It’s a combination of Scandinavian minimalism, British dandy, and French casual.
What trends are you appreciating right now?
I always feel trends only have a negative connotation — by definition, a trend is something you’ve already seen too many times. Things like camel or studs so many people are talking about them, but that’s the kind of thing that was already overrated before it started. I’m looking for individuality in my work.
What’s one thing you’re saving to buy?
An apartment in New York. It’s cliché, but it would be beautiful to live in the West Village.
What should every man have in his closet?
Well-tailored trousers. It’s one essential piece that makes an outfit. I understand that guys want to look casual, but that’s not an excuse to wear badly tailored clothes. You can wear basics, just make them great basics.
What’s something you never leave the house without?
I have my whole life with me, since I tend to travel and not to be home for several months. I have all the adapters you can imagine. Even if my plan is to go to Australia tomorrow, maybe in the middle of the trip I will have to go to Japan quickly. And I have to be able to face any climate: Maybe it will be hot in Australia and freezing in northern Sweden. It’s a constant adventure.
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