Interview: Cameron Adams of Atlanta Street Fashion

Atlanta is home to a bevy of talented photographers of all genres. With my interests lying in fashion, advertising and commercial work I’m seeking out those that are doing well here in those areas and seek out their guidance. I’m interviewing photographers that encompass a wide range of experience, from those that graduate from my college a year or two ago and are working in the field to those that have amassed 25+ year careers. I’m hoping that by doing these interviews it will further push me outside of my shy comfort zone and help me network a bit with fellow professionals.

Image courtesy of WABE.

My first interviewee is Cameron Adams who, in the age of Bill Cunningham and Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist, has become Atlanta’s own street style photographer. Adams is the creator of the Atlanta Street Fashion, Atlanta Bicycle Chic and The Chattanoogan style blogs. His resume spans at least a decade with most recent awards including Best Fashion Blogger for 2011 by Atlanta Magazine and Readers’ Choice: Best Local Blogger for 2012 by Creative Loafing. Adams has also been featured in 4 photography exhibitions including Georgia Photographers Only 2002 by The Atlanta Photography Group, Artforms: A Premier Visual and Performing Arts Exhibition, Silver Secrets at the Callanwolde Fine Art Center and Atlanta Summer 1996. I sat down with Cameron Adams at local Grant Park hot spot Octane Coffee to learn more about being a blogger and working photographer.

What camera do you use and why?  

Just a basic Canon Rebel T3i. Crop sensor camera with a 50mm lens on it. When I’m working with it fully open I’m about 10-15 feet away from the person. People tend to like a comfortable distance and it blurs out the background pretty nicely.

How did you get your start in photography? What led you to create Atlanta Street Fashion/The Chattanoogan/Atlanta Bicycle Chic?

2005 I answered a job ad for a staff photographer on the eastern shore of Maryland. That lasted a year, plus two more when I went to work as a stringer. Anywhere else it would be called a contractor or part-timer. Because I was working for them as a stringer, I could also work for Angie’s List, which I did in Baltimore and Indianapolis. I also contributed to What’s Up Annapolis Eastern Shore Edition, their lifestyle magazine. I did photography, a little bit of writing and a lot of street interviews. All this time, in the back of my mind I’m knowing that this newspaper experiment is not working out because all the papers are shrinking. They’re laying off staff. Furthermore, the publishers are all pressing for video. When I talked with a reporter at the Baltimore Sun he said all of our veteran news reporters have been handed video cameras and told to use them. So what am I to do with myself? I remembered Bill Cunningham and Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist and I thought that actually could be a lot of fun.

Backtracking, I grew up looking at National Geographic, Life Magazine and loving photography. I thought then that’s what I’m going to do. But as technology changes, they’ve rewritten all of the rules. So if I’m to remain relevant as a journalist, what am I going to do? I’m going to have to become a blogger and if I do that I’m going to have to pick a speciality, so what would it be? I decided on street fashion. As luck would have it, I’ve enjoyed it. I have not gotten tired of it. Six years in and I’m still out there, everyday looking for the real and interesting.

As far as The Chattanoogan, I lived briefly in Chattanooga. That’s where I was able to make all my rookie blogging mistakes, so I kind of hit the ground running when I came to Atlanta. In Chattanooga I became aware of that intersection of city cycling and style blogging, which was made popular by style blogs like Copenhagen Cycle Chic. I actually organized a fashion show in Chattanooga around bicycling. It was set in the city park with the cooperation of Outdoor Chattanooga which happened to have a fleet of a dozen bikes so if you didn’t have a bike of your own they could find you one. It would have been a huge success if it hadn’t rained.

Courtesy of Atlanta Bicycle Chic. 

Courtesy of Atlanta Bicycle Chic

[Atlanta Bicycle Chic] I found a group of riders called Heels on Wheels that’s done by the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition. I actually sat down with Rebecca Serna, the executive director, and pled my case for allowing me to come to her rides. It was a ladies only ride and I just wanted to be there, take some pictures and she said okay. Along the way, it became a subset of the main fashion blog so I needed to do something to make it different and more interesting.  I decided to start this thing I call Role Models where it allowed people to tell their stories about bicycling in Atlanta. Some have been the results of interviews, sometimes people send me perfect copy. So whatever story you have about riding in Atlanta, I’m all ears.

What is your process for your blogs as far as picking out subjects to putting them up on the blog?

What do I look for? Good fashion. Good taste. Surprise. Theatricality. Anything unusual. Anything I haven’t seen before and unlikely to see again. I must be naturally attune to those type of people. It starts with a smile, eye contact and a greeting. If those are reciprocated then I move onto something nice about the outfit. I rarely hear no after that. I love hearing, “Oh you’ve made my day!” It’s so flattering. It’s a basic blogger template. Same one Scott Schuman used. Basically the head-to-toe stylings are all based on a popular Flickr group called Wardrobe Remix which are all self portraits. Women showing off for other women and I thought that was a great way to do it. I don’t want to get into sensational poses. The encounters are minimum. 5-10 minutes at the most. When we are finished we go our separate ways.

What work do you do outside of fashion blogging?

 

I do shoot other things like senior portraits. I’m nowhere near busy enough. I’m working on that right now. I make it a point to ask daily about working for people and what they need.

What do you anticipate for the future of your blogs?

Where would I go from here? I like where I have been. Before Instagram I would get 300 likes a day and that I thought was something solid. And then Instagram came along. Now that’s where they [Readers] all go. I’m getting far more interest on there. I get comments. People tag their friends. They love it. They never comment on the blog. You go to Instagram, that’s where they all are. That’s where their friends are. I’d love to get more interaction on the blog.

You can check out Cameron Adams personal work here and his current blogs Atlanta Street Fashion and Atlanta Bicycle Chic. Don't forget to follow him on Instagram

P.S. You may see a certain photographer you know on his blog here!

P.P.S. If there's any topics you'd like to see on the blog or someone you would be interested in seeing interviewed ask me at my ask.fm or email me at aspen@capturingfashion.com