Leading a Visual Life: The Sartorialist

I didn’t grow up dreaming to be a photographer. I didn’t assist for anybody. I just started doing it… The way I do it is just the way I do it.

Beautiful piece here about Scott Schumann, aka The Sartorialist. In the unlikely event you’re not familiar with his work, he’s an ex-fashion guy turned street photographer. Plenty to be learned here for any creative discipline.

Brilliant, simple style.
Confident in his vision.
Living a creative life.
There are a million paths to get where you’re going.

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65 Responses to Leading a Visual Life: The Sartorialist

  1. DanielKphoto January 10, 2011 at 8:27 am #

    Very inspiring video! I love the way he just walks up to someone and asks if he can take a shot. Great. Thanks for sharing :-)

    • baboonbutt February 1, 2011 at 10:21 am #

      eh scott is not ‘ex-fashion’ he is very much still inside the fashion world and still shoots editorials and ad campaigns.

  2. Mat January 10, 2011 at 8:39 am #

    I saw this the other day. Brilliant video and very inspiring.. And this is how they filmed him:

    • TimR January 10, 2011 at 9:02 am #

      I watched the video yesterday, and it was great to now read about how it was made. Thanks for the link.

  3. Tucker Jones January 10, 2011 at 8:40 am #

    This is great! This is what I love, the art and fact that you meet some interesting people while shooting their photos. Thanks for sharing Chase!

  4. Kelly January 10, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    Thanks for sharing! Enjoyable, creative video – inspiring to those of us what strive to be creative and open-minded each day.

  5. John C January 10, 2011 at 9:08 am #

    Awesome video. Encouraging words. I don’t know if i can ever just walk up to a stranger…

    • DanielKphoto January 10, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

      That’s exactly what I really love about this video, and I hope I’ll be able to do so if I put my mind to it :D

  6. Mike W. January 10, 2011 at 9:22 am #

    A very inspiring video and thank you so much for sharing this. I think there’s a lot of take away here that will help me improve my craft. It was wonderful to see how he approaches people on the street, something I’m terrified of doing when I’m out doing street photography. Now I know what I need to change. :-)

  7. Chuck St John January 10, 2011 at 9:31 am #


  8. Tony T. January 10, 2011 at 9:32 am #

    Love his style and his way of seeing the world. Very introspective and thoughtful.

  9. Martin January 10, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    Very cool; Thanks for sharing; very inspiring…

  10. Matthew May January 10, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    Awesome Chase.. thanks for sharing!

  11. Uday Khambadkone January 10, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    Loved the simplicity and the point that Scott made about recording the life around us. Beautiful and Inspiring piece. Thanks for sharing.

  12. desiree east January 10, 2011 at 10:43 am #

    This is great, I love this guy. I always see perfect ‘moments’ of people out and about on the streets, but (being so shy) I almost always hesitate to ask to take photos of that said moment. Now that I’ve seen someone like Scott in action (so humble), this might give me the courage to just simply ‘ask’. Thanks for sharing…

  13. Andreas Måneskiöld January 10, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    Very inspiring indeed. This will definately be one of my challenges for 2011!

    Thanks for sharing all of these inspirational videos Chase, they are all beautiful and inspiring at the same time.


  14. Greg January 10, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    Thanks CJ for sharing.. Looks like he rockin the 85mm….To the photogs that are afraid to ask people to photograph just realize that you are going to die sometime so interact with people while you can! Visually extracting our era!…Chase does his photos get used anywhere else then the blog fine art/magazine??…If so i wonder if he lets them know the possibility & gives his card to them etc. of course after the photo is taken to not ruin the moment..

  15. Keri January 10, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    Very interesting, love his style and confidence.

  16. Mathieu Wauters January 10, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    Brilliant inspirational video. I love the simple but effective style.

  17. Cameron January 10, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    I wish they showed someone not wanting their photo taken. It was convenient that the friend of the first lady recognized him, but subject sounded skeptical. I phase in and out of asking folks if I can take their photo, but it’s usually after a few rejections that I just step back, take a break and need to be humble about what I’m doing. Does anyone else find that answering the question “Why do you want to take my photo/what is the photo for?” with “I run a website…(fill in descriptive details of that website)” to be sufficient for people? What kinds of questions/resistance do other photographers get when asking permission to take a strangers photo?

    • Todd January 10, 2011 at 9:36 pm #


      I was thinking the same thing. People definitely have walls up. Even in poverty stricken areas, people are aware. Was watching a documentary of a photo-journalist, and the subjects asked him, “You’re taking pictures of us because we’re poor, no?” He countered that he was taking the photos to help record a way of life that would soon disappear, but in a way, they were dead on.

      I’ve been shot down plenty of times, but one pretty memorable experience that was positive goes as such: Saw a mane of hair running. Bare chested. Pulled my car over and ran him down. Introduced myself, told him that I would love to photograph him sometime, and did it. Here’s what I came away with:


      Could have been better… could have been worse. But it was a great learning experience. I suppose just keep carrying a camera, keep asking, get shot down, and come back for more.


  18. Robin Black January 10, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    Very nice piece. And I want to photograph his barber. :)

    • Luis Villegas January 21, 2011 at 7:30 am #

      Am I the only person that thought that his barber is amazing! Gosh, I really want to go and get the whole experience. So much nostalgia when I saw that.

  19. Thad Westhusing January 10, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

    A terrific video from what should be an inspiring series of short films on our visual experiences. I also like the introductory video for this “Visual Life” campaign. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Erin Wilson January 10, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    Oh, this is great! Thank you for posting it. I read The Sartoralist for quite a while, and it seemed that he just came across these folks and make photos. What I love about this video is it shows how hard he works to get these photographs! Watching his expression as he was constantly scanning the streets… I just really appreciate the glimpse into what it takes for him to do what he does.

  21. hafez January 10, 2011 at 6:20 pm #

    very inspiring…me don’t have any guts to talk to a stranger…

  22. mat g. January 10, 2011 at 8:06 pm #

    A seemingly humble, reserved, brilliantly creative man… with the courage to continue to put his creativity to the test every day…. perhaps that’s more of what this world needs…. There are a million paths to get where we’re going… we just have to take the first step toward getting there…

  23. jonathan January 10, 2011 at 8:10 pm #

    so inspiring.

  24. Danny St January 10, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

    Absolutely inspirational. I’ve been walking up to strangers to take their portraits, and as soon as I got my 100th stranger, I just stopped and didn’t feel that passion anymore. But right after seeing this video, I’m all pumped up again and can’t wait to hit the streets and find that next stranger!

  25. Joseph W Nienstedt January 11, 2011 at 5:34 am #

    I love how guys like Scott and Jay Maisel have such a smooth and confident approach to shooting complete strangers on the spot. It seems like it would be quite easy to fall into the creep role in the eyes of the subject. I bet a video of all of the rejections would be pretty entertaining!

  26. Sadonna Lingnau January 11, 2011 at 5:55 am #

    Very inspiring video to watch first thing in the morning. Really love how he walks around stops thinks and visualize what he wants to capture. Street Photography has always been something I have wanted to try but never really had to nerve to get out of my comfort zone to do. After watching this I now have the courage to do it. Thank you for posting.

  27. Akis Douzlatzis January 11, 2011 at 8:04 am #


  28. Dawn January 11, 2011 at 9:07 am #

    who was the music by, hmmm it so fit the mood

  29. amy January 11, 2011 at 11:53 am #

    The “digital park bench” — effing brilliant.

  30. Will Duris January 11, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    Looks just like Jason Statham

    • Diego January 11, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

      Hahaha yeah kinda does

  31. Mike January 12, 2011 at 11:32 am #

    I love how headstrong he seems.

  32. Sergei January 14, 2011 at 9:30 pm #


  33. RiSo January 16, 2011 at 1:24 am #

    I love the way Scott Schumann is to get closer to the people to take pictures. Of the reality out there but with a personal touch, transmitting it says a lot simpler, with exploring the world through his passion for photography.
    Congratulations. Thanks for the video

  34. Thatcher January 21, 2011 at 8:04 pm #

    On point!

  35. Simon January 29, 2011 at 1:38 am #

    Visited your blog after reading Timothy Allen’s comments about your work in Outdoor Photography. The artical on Scott Schumann was really engaging, thanks for inspiring !

  36. Bimal Nair February 3, 2011 at 4:05 am #

    there is so much that i could relate to, while he was talking, walking down and taking pictures. Its really so beautiful to know that people out there are living a life so complete while they are workig!!? Aww! Awesome :) I loved it totally!

  37. Michael February 5, 2011 at 3:14 pm #


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    You just gotta love this guy!!..

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