For someone who makes a living photographing eccentric street style around the world, Face Hunter’s Yvan Rodic is surprisingly unassuming. “I’m not more unusual than anyone else,” he says. “In the beginning, I would see someone I liked and just snap it.” Rodic was working as a copywriter in Paris when he started taking pictures. Born in Switzerland and raised in London and Paris, he found he had a naturally perceptive eye. “I didn’t have any background in photography or fashion,” he says. “I just moved to Paris and started making friends in fashion, and I thought it would be interesting to share what I see.” He started posting his photos to his blog in January 2006. Six months later, he received an e-mail from Men.Style.com (now GQ.com) asking him to cover Fashion Week. It was his first time in New York. More offers and gigs rolled in, and within a year he was making a living off his blog. “My life has completely changed. When I first started, I had a normal job, lived in one city, and everything was standard,” he says. “Now it’s getting completely surreal.” Today, Facehunter.blogspot.com and YvanRodic.blogspot.com generate more than a million hits a month combined.
In the past year, he published a book, launched a web TV show, and started lecturing — he just returned from a trip to UCLA to talk to students about blogging culture. Though he’s in a different city each week (his travel route this month takes him to Australia, Singapore, Bangkok, and Hong Kong), we caught up with the roving photographer to discuss his whirlwind career, the end of the camel trend, and the Parisian fashion bubble.
How has the blog evolved since 2006?
I started to be more photo-aware and take my time. Where it used to be a snapshot, now a shoot can take half an hour or more; I’ll walk with someone for ten blocks to find a better location or better light. It’s more about composition.
My spectrum is also much wider. It started with street style, but now it’s more about contemporary culture in general rather than just cool people who look good. It’s a documentation of what’s happening in different cities, from architecture to food to fashion.
What’s your goal going forward?
I like to showcase emerging talents in different parts of the world that are not necessarily known for fashion and creativity — places like Moscow that tend to get negative coverage in the media. I’d also like to do more documentary television and films. I don’t necessarily want to be another fashion photographer. My audience is on the Internet, and I really want to explore that field.
What are you looking for when you’re out shooting in a new city? What draws you to a particular subject?
I’m halfway in the fashion world and halfway outside. I’m not a fashion expert. I just have this genuine eye — I look at people in a naïve way. I’m looking for the intersection of creativity and beauty; interesting personalities. I’m attracted to people who stand out and are confident in a healthy way, someone who’s not trying to be another stereotype.
What do you see as the differences between the major fashion cities?
On a regular day in Paris, you can get millions of photos. It’s a fashion capital, but it’s like a fashion bubble. The difference between Paris and places like New York or London is that the people who work with the designers go out and play in bands, they experiment with other work. In Paris, it’s more about the shows, whereas in New York it’s a larger cultural scene.
Recent Face Hunter subjects.Photo: Yvan Rodic.