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What is Style?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

"Style is a response to the terror of invisibility and isolation -- a wish for inclusion." - Lisa Cohen, Three Lives

 In the process of working on the upcoming documentary Advanced Style, I have been thinking a lot about what motivates people to dress up. I was struck by the quote above while reading Lisa Cohen's book on the lives of three extraordinary women. For me, dressing up was always encouraged by my parents and grandparents. They saw it as an act of meaning and importance. My grandfather always said, "The way you dress is how the world sees you."

When I am walking around the city and looking for people to photograph, my eye is drawn to many different things. Sometimes it's a wonderful jacket, an exquisite hat, a knowing face, or a confident stance. What is most important to me is that the photos tell a story -- that they express a sense of vitality and spirit. I am not a style expert, nor am I a fashion critic. I only seek to present a positive and inspired look at aging and style and show that many wonderful things exist beyond middle age.

Style means something different to each person who gets up in the morning and decides how they are going to look. While some may consider it a means of celebrating the self, a fight against invisibility, or an act of creative expression, others may simply get dressed without putting much thought into it. Motivation aside, for the people I photograph, style is a reflection and example of the care, passion, and energy that they invest and express in their daily lives.