When I learned that Yvan would be speaking at UCLA on November 9th, I cleared my schedule in preparation for a visit to my old stomping grounds. In my opinion, Yvan is the best street style photographer in the world, and having the chance to hear him speak, ask him questions, meet him, and have him sign my book last night was an exciting and amazing experience. I admit that it was because of his photos that I decided to travel to Stockholm and Copenhagen (amongst other places) two years ago, and I was not disappointed by either city.
UCLA looks the same as always: well manicured grass, beautiful brick buildings, and rushed students.
During his lecture, Yvan discussed how and why he began his blog, why he uses Blogger, and how he makes a living. I related to him when he shared that he had little web programming knowledge, and wanted to start his blog without spending money. He cited the importance of using social networks to connect with readers, and discussed the struggle of staying true to his blog without "selling out" and alienating readers with content that's not authentic. Fun fact - he told me his favorite city to shoot street style in is Reykjavik, Iceland, because of it's small size, amount of creativity, and isolation from other countries. (Note to self - plan a trip to Iceland, preferably in the summer.)
What I found most interesting was his mention of the decline of meaningful subcultures with the rise of the iPod generation. He explained that we're now sampling and mixing time periods and geographic aesthetics without limits, in a so-called "supermarket of style." For example, you can wear studded shoes these days but not be a part of the punk movement or care about the origin of punk music and style. (For some reason, I'm glad I didn't wear my studded combat boots yesterday.) Yvan pointed out that with the internet, you can escape what you're born into, because you have choices and can invent your own identity. We're all connected through the internet, in an international community of hyper-individual people.
Watching him chat with the attendees, I could tell that he's genuinely interested in getting to know people, and that translates into his work. He makes his street style subjects feel at ease, and brings out unique aspects of their personalities through his photography.
Thank you to FAST for helping put this event together!