With a client list that includes Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Lucky, New York Magazine, The New York Times, Nylon, Elle UK, and every other publication you love to read, Mr. Newton has proven that he’s more than some cool dude with a blog – he’s a major force in on-the-street photography.
We could give you quite a few reasons why this is so, from his unique perspective on fashion to his charming southern drawl, but we’d rather let Mr. Newton speak for himself.
Fashionista: Where are you from and how did you get started as a photographer?
Mr. Newton: I’m from Fayetteville, North Carolina. I’ve been here [in NYC] for 13 years. I started out shooting parties with cool kids. I also was DJ’ing runway shows at this point. It’s always hours before the show starts, so I started shooting the girls backstage. When I started shooting street style, I’m proud to say, I had never heard of the Sartorialist or anyone else. Then in 2007, a friend showed some of my photos to Frank Bober, the CEO at Stylesight. He ended up hiring me to do their street style blog–Stylesightings–or the next two years. In mid-2009 I struck out on my own and started Mr. Newton.
How do you choose the girls you’re going to shoot?
I always shoot girls that I personally like, that I think look cool, and fun, and have attitude. You can totally tell–by the way they walk, the way they smile, you can really pick up on their energy. I don’t aspire to be Terry Richardson, but I don’t aspire to be just a bland shopping site either. I like girls that dress a little sexy and have attitude, and aren’t afraid to work it.
So next question: Why don’t you shoot guys? Or as I wrote in my notebook, “Why no dudes?”
Because I like to shoot what excites me, and dude fashion does not excite me. I think of women as these wonderful and mysterious creatures, and I think of guys as just sweaty dudes! There’s also not as much of a market for it, not so many clients looking to buy dude photos. Also I think there’s a lot more going on with female fashion, head-to-toe. I think guys who dress well pretty much have a uniform for life, and women wear something a couple of times, and they’re done. Every month you’ve got different stuff to shoot with women.
So who’s your ideal muse, or your ideal subject to shoot?
The coolest It-girls worldwide…bloggers, stylists, up-and-coming models…girls like Daisy Lowe, Elena Perminova, Liz Cherkasova, Elisa Nalin… I love a lot of girls whose names I don’t even know. I shoot a lot of girls in foreign countries that don’t speak English. I really like that mysterious quality about street style. Like Diane Arbus–she would see a couple on a park bench and the title of the photo would be “Couple on Park Bench in Washington Square.” She didn’t know their names. She didn’t contact them via Twitter. [laughs]