Interview with International Fashion Photographer Adam Katz Sinding

Three or four years ago, Adam Katz Sinding was one of the most respected, well-known names in fashion photography in the Pacific Northwest. Known for his discerning taste-level and dubbed the “Sartorlialist of Seattle” by Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, his site, Le 21Eme, featured the most stylish and thought-provoking fashion subjects about Seattle proper. A full-fledged New Yorker now, we’re catching up with the Seattleite fashion photographer gone international.

Seattleite: How have the past few years in NYC treated you? We’ve seen you in some highly coveted fashion magazines…

Adam Sinding shooting Hachung Lee in Seoul Korea
Adam Sinding shooting Hachung Lee in Seoul Ko

AS: I moved to New York on 31-December-2010. I figured it was as good a day as any.  New York is great.  As with any transition, it’s never easy, but I feel like New York gave me 6 months of hell, and then the clouds parted.  Being from Seattle was actually a huge benefit.  My first two jobs here were based almost entirely off the fact that the clients were either from Seattle originally, or had a very close friend from Seattle.  It’s good and bad, but New York is all about who you know.

As far as current clients, I’ve been very lucky.  But this too, I can only attribute to me being from Seattle.  On the 3rd of January, 2011, I received an email from the online editor of Elle.com asking me to participate in their new Global Street Style initiative, and provide them with photos from the streets of Seattle.  Obviously having moved from Seattle to New York only 4 days prior, I was unable to provide.  I replied apologetically and thanked them.  They replied almost immediately saying “Oh, that’s ok, you can just shoot New York streets for us then!”, which became my career for the past 18 months or so.  Having my photos featured on Elle.com once a day was massive for me, and eventually it grew into many more clients.  I actually just recently stopped working with Elle, and have moved on to clients which I feel more match my personal aesthetic.  My main client currently is W Magazine, however I also work with Who What Wear, Style.com, Vogue.com, Vogue Russia, Glamour Russia,  Grazia.it, etc and have my photo printed in Marie Claire, New York Magaine,  Elle, Elle Collections, DuJour , Teen Vogue, InStyle Germany, Grazia Germany, Glamour Germany (so many Germans!), etc.

Seattleite: What’s the difference between shooting street fashion (I know you don’t like calling it this– what would you call your blog’s collection of work?) in NYC than in Seattle?

AS: I don’t even like to call my site a blog, to be honest.  New York has a lot to offer.  Seattle, you really need to search.  In New York, you can sit on your stoop with a cup of coffee and get 10 photos a day.  In Seattle you need to move around a lot.  Head to Ballard if there’s an event, Capitol Hill if there’s a sale, Downtown to the Market, Nordstrom, Westlake, Pioneer Square, etc.  Seattle is spread out, and people are in cars.  Everyone walks in NYC, or takes the train, so you’re bound to bump into cool people no matter where you are (below 14th street).  I also have branched out.  I shoot Fashion Weeks in New York, London, Milan, Florence, Paris, Sydney, Copenhagen, and Stockholm.  I also try to go to Iceland once a year as well, as they have interesting fashion as well.  I also have been getting into shooting a lot of backstage.

Seattleite: Tell us about the celebrities you’ve shot; how were you able to manage getting in reach of such high-profile names?

AS: My first answer is “who cares” as most often when i see celebs I lower my camera, as I don’t want to be paparazzi.  That being said, every once and a while you’ll see a “moment” happening and it happens to include an ‘celeb’ so I try to capture it.  For me, I want to lock a passing moment in time.  I want to show people who can’t be there what I saw.  Not just document it, but try to recreate a dynamic occurrence with one static frame.  It’s HARD…but it’s exciting.  Ummm, to answer your question though…Kanye West, Katy Perry, Paul McCartney,…who cares?  They are just people.

Seattleite: Back when you were in Seattle, you used to love to shoot around the Nordstrom Flagship because in that vicinity there were so many shoppers and Nordstrom staff who dressed so well; have you found a favorite place to find natural fashion “ah-ha” moments?

AS: I shoot mainly in Williamsburg, SoHo and Nolita as those are my current of former neighborhoods.  But I always have my camera with me.  I choose a shoe repair and tailor which are about 3 miles from my apartment as it forces me to get out of my area and find new people.

Seattleite: Tell us about your readership.. How many visits do you get on your site?

AS: I have around 3 million total views…which is not crazy.  But it’s good for me, because it’s a focused audience.  I get around 3,000 unique views a day, spending on average over 6 minutes on the site and looking at around 6 pages.  I did a massive rebrand and redesign about a year ago and it was designed and realized by two of Seattle’s most talented people, in my opinion: Chelsey Scheffe and Nicholas Espinosa.

Seattleite: Any plans to come back to the EmeraldCity?

AS: I’m coming back in mid December and doing an event at Totokaelo on Capitol Hill.  But aside from that, yes, but only to visit.  I miss the nature though, a lot.  I am hoping to be able to get back there about every 4 months or so.  My mom still lives in Tacoma, so there’s something to come back to.  I’ll tell you what…and you’ll never believe this:  I miss the weather.  New York City weather SUCKS.  It rains more here…and the summers…kill me.  Also, coffee here is disgusting.

Adam will also be hosting an open networking event with Fashion Group International: Seattle Chapter on December 19th at Koral in Bellevue.  For more details click here