“I love all aspects of photography,” says Wallace Chapman, “and the way I found my own voice was in street style”.
Chapman runs the blog streetandcityphotos.blogspot.com which is one of the few such online magazines showing street style in a New Zealand setting. Chapman has a deep-seated love of the country, and maintains our street vibe has a flavour all of its own. “I see it as archiving,” Chapman says about this ongoing project, and he is building on a legacy of capturing street style which was quite prominent here in the 1930s and 1940s where street photographers would snap people, then sell the photos back to them.
“People are a little cautious,” Chapman says about approaching them, “this isn’t Milan or Stockholm”. It is crucial to establish an authenticity within a few seconds of approach. To facilitate this, Chapman has a card he hands out; a big bold postcard which can quickly break the ice. Once a contact is made, Chapman will ask about the clothes and the accessories which have so attracted him. These nuggets of information will be mentioned in the blog, giving it so much extra browsing value.
Chapman uses a Leica camera. It looks old-fashioned, in fact, almost 1950s. It isn’t a giant piece of equipment sprouting long lenses and flashguns, and helps to make the subjects relaxed and interested in the story developing. Chapman prefers using natural light, and the lenses he uses offer magnificent sharpness.
Chapman is a wonderful capturer, and visual commentator. And this is not solely the domain of his blog, as he is also the anchor presenter of the TV shows Back Benches and The New Old.