The Look: Seen on the Streets: Fashion Mavericks, a Stylish Couple and Fran Lebowitz
“I’m not really interested in color,” said Andre Wagner, a Brooklyn photographer who specializes in street style. “Black and white photography just has a harmony that I like.”
In much of his work, Mr. Wagner’s subjects are glaring at the camera. “I want to capture that initial moment when they recognize me,” he said. “Not a moment after, because once they realize what’s happening, things change.”
He took the photographs presented here over the month of February, mostly in the New York neighborhoods of Bushwick, Brooklyn; SoHo; and Midtown, specifically around Grand Central Terminal, one of his favorite places to shoot.
Mr. Wagner, who played basketball in college, said he looked for movement and action. “I just want to be out there and be loose,” he said. “Like the same way with basketball. You can practice so much, but once you are in the game, you can’t think about practice, you can’t think about the plays — you just have to deal with what’s happening in the game.”
This is the third time he has photographed the writer Fran Lebowitz, above. “When I initially saw her, it surprised me, and I walked by her,” he said. “And then I was like, wait, what am I doing? I should be photographing her. So then I turned back around like a fan boy. She has sunglasses on, but she is definitely looking at me. After I took the photo, she kind of gave me a head nod, so that made me pretty happy.”
Of the tattooed pedestrian shown here, Mr. Wagner said: “He obviously has his own personality and he’s wearing it on his sleeve, literally. Something about his eyes and the way he is looking at me added this other thing to the photograph that you can’t necessarily put your finger on.”
This photograph was taken in Bushwick, where Mr. Wagner lives. “I wanted to be in front of them,” he said. “I wanted to kind of dance with them a little bit, and I got their eye contact.”
What captured Mr. Wagner’s eye in this case was that there was something youthful, but at the same time serious, about these young women. “Every street style photographer knows that once 3 o’clock hits, all the high school kids are running the streets,” he said. “As soon as I walked off, one of them said, ‘Girl, did you just see that? He just photographed us.’”
This photograph was taken on Fifth Avenue. “I just love everything about the composition. The two people on the right and the tree in the background is kind of split right down the middle, and you even have the pigeon on the left. So there is a sense of order. And then obviously, their moment, the engagement that they are holding hands.”
Mr. Wagner said he had seen this man two or three times around Grand Central Terminal. “You know, when you photograph in the same area over a certain amount of time, you start to notice certain people, even if they don’t ever notice you,” he said.
The woman shown above was an elusive subject for Mr. Wagner. “When she saw me coming, she tried to walk away from me,” he said. “But there was something about that attitude that I was attracted to, so I wanted to photograph her even more.” He liked her stillness in the crowd: “It’s that New York when you just want to have a quiet moment and it’s just kind of impossible, because you have a hundred things happening around you.”
He took this photograph at the busy intersection of Broadway and Prince Street. “I was just crossing the street and, obviously, her Afro is just amazing, and they just look great as a couple,” he said. “And I just kind of photographed him and they smiled and just kind of kept going.”
He captured this jaywalker near Grand Central. “Her scarf, the way it is blowing in the wind, I thought was just so beautiful,” he said. “I was just wondering what she’s thinking about as she gets her day started. There is something very moody about this picture.”
When Mr. Wagner saw this man, he ran across the street. “I found my spot and he also gave me a nod,” he said. “I think when you are dressed like that and somebody gets that picture, it’s a good day.”
After noticing the woman in white, Mr. Wagner positioned himself near a food cart to get a good angle. “You can really feel her walking toward me and past me,” he said.
The man with the cigar crossed the photographer’s path on a snowy day in February, when there was not much else happening, by a street style photographer’s standards. “I was so interested in his hat and his cigar that I wanted to get close enough,” he said. “I just walked up to him and took his picture, and he just looked at me and kept going.”
Mr. Wagner came upon the man with the distinctive sideburns near Canal Street. “There is something about this guy that is so classic, and it just reminded me of old New York,” he said. “It was kind of dark outside, and I was shooting at a low shutter speed. That’s why there is a little bit of movement.”