Matt Brand was once apart of The Manual team – he has since moved on and started a blog that fuses an everyday commute with the interesting and exciting styles of New York City. We had a quick coffee with him between shots to hear more about StyleRider.
“I bike everyday from Brooklyn to TriBeCa, and was fascinated by the styles of people on wheels: bikers certainly, but also motor-cyclers, skateboarders, roller-skaters, people in wheelchairs, walkers, even older people pulling those mini grocery-cart things,” Brand told us.
Brand’s idea was also different from the other style blogs out there. “It was a different type of street style that I hadn’t seen on photo blogs,” said Brand, “I liked the idea of bringing sport and action photography into the street style category.
Brand began documenting people who caught his eye during the morning commute. Shooting everything while in motion, on his road bike.
At first, Matt took shots without people knowing, which he says was easier than going through the process of approaching and engaging random street-goers. One day he experimented with a “mini interview” – asking them questions about their style, and shooting them while they answer. “I liked the image that this interaction produced much better – their eyes were on me or the camera, and their expressions were always different,” he explained.
Developing this technique, Brand found that he was capturing people in a very natural, happy, joyful state. He believes this is because their attention is on multiple things (riding bikes, reflecting on questions, and talking.) “I’m getting this very real expression of “letting go”, which is nearly impossible to capture in a controlled photo shoot environment.” Brand also works at an ad agency, so his career experience comes into play.
As Brand started getting stronger and stronger quotes and stories, the blog has taken on a life of it’s own. It’s like a hybrid of The Sartorialist and Humans of New York, another blog that captures New Yorkers during the day and captures photos and terrific stories.
So what’s next for Matt as he continues to evolve his blog? “One thing I’m looking to do is team up with an anti-smoking initiative,” he said. “I think the project would be a softer and more subversive way to approach cessation: everyone I shoot is happy, joyful, and they look cool – all without smoking.”
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