Adam Katz Sinding on Travel
After the successful This is Not a F*cking Street Style Book, MENDO and Adam Katz Sinding are now working on a sequel named Live From F*cking Everywhere.
In this new teNeues | MENDO publication, Sinding widens his scope and explores culture and landmarks with the same sophisticated eye he uses to photograph fashion.
Adam Katz Sinding
‘ Traveling is incredible, but obviously I do it at an obsessive level. ’
Mikel: I often describe your work as the perfect connection between the streets and the catwalk: with lots of attention for details, lines and colors. In that sense, Live From F*cking Everywhere is a seamless sequel to This is Not a F*cking Street Style Book. That book opens with a photo taken at an Off-White show of a neon sign that says: “You’re obviously in the wrong place.” Do you feel like the fashion world is your world?
Adam: My perspective has always been from the outside looking in. I’ve always felt more comfortable not really being a part of it. To be honest, I feel like I don’t need to be attending any fashion show. I’m super happy when they grant me backstage access, though. But that’s my work. Every season I feel like I’m less and less interested in what’s coming. It remains interesting to photograph, and the fashion is an essential part of what I do—it would be a lot less interesting if there wasn’t such novelty and aesthetics involved.
Traveling was (and is) a byproduct of your work. What value does traveling hold?
Experiences like walking a different route, or cycling through a new city are super rewarding, even though they don’t hold actual value. They make me happier, in a way. And in the end, all of this is a way of finding happiness and fulfillment. Traveling is incredible, but obviously I do it at an obsessive level. I do it up to a point where I almost numb myself. I wish I traveled less, or stayed in places a little bit longer in order to actually experience them.
I actually feel like you’re always doing something wherever you are. I was just about to ask how many hours you have in one day.
These photos were mostly made while commuting. For example, in Milan, the subway system sucks, the shared bikes are too small, and their Ubers are expensive, so I’d rather walk. In these big cities during Fashion Week, half the time it only takes marginally more to walk to places. And I’d rather be late and calm, and see something of the city along the way.
It seems like you have an infrangible discipline. And to paraphrase Errolson Hugh’s introduction in the book: you have to have discipline if you live the way you do. I’m wondering if you have time to relax, between all that shooting, traveling, running, cycling, editing, emailing, moving, and Instagramming?
Not really. Even during my vacations I’m always busy. I’m a bit under the weather right now, and my bike was three days delayed, so I’m doing a lot of chilling, but not by my own choice. I’m just not really good at relaxing, I like to be occupied. To me, running is relaxing. A lot of people ask me where I find the energy to run at the end of the day, but that’s where I get my energy. I get so many endorphins from running.
‘ And I’d rather be late and calm, and see something of the city along the way. ’
‘ And I’d rather be late and calm, and see something of the city along the way. ’
You have told me before that it’s sometimes crappy that you’re so passionate about what you’re doing, because you’re always busy. And that yet, traveling and living the way you do provides the drive to go on. In what way has all this traveling changed your perspective on the world?
Obviously it has, but I never really quantified that. The world became a lot smaller, especially when I just started. Now, everyone is connected with everyone anyways, but it’s so interesting to meet people from around the world. I think it was more interesting 20 years ago, maybe even ten years ago. I feel like, due to social media and internet, in general, culture is diminishing. Everyone wants to live like Americans or Western Europeans. Of course, different languages, different faces, different food—that’s great. But I feel like I’m getting a watered-down version of what I would have gotten 20 years ago.
I’ve read this article that said that there aren’t really local trends anymore, because they get picked up all over the world so quickly. You must experience that as well. Everything kind of becomes the same, wherever you go.
I was in Iceland, in Reykjavik, and they had a Big Lebowski bar. It was horrible. I remember driving nine hours up north, to this tiny obscure hot spring close to the north coast of Iceland. We get to the pool, and there were only two people in there. I was like “yes, only locals!” But then I noticed they were speaking French. There’s no escaping it anymore, even though I’m aware that I’m equally guilty of all this stuff. To get back to your question, I’m sure that all this has enriched my life greatly.
‘ I don’t see myself ever stopping doing this. ’
This is the second time we’ve been working on a book together. I think I understand your way of life, although I definitely couldn’t live the way you do. Why do you do all this?
To be distracted.
Seems like escapism to me. Are you afraid of something?
I have to talk with my therapist about that.
Maybe you should.
Look, if someone called you up today and said: “Hey, do you want to go to Kazakhstan for a week? We’ll pay for everything.” Of course you’ll say yes. How many people do you know who’ve been to Kazakhstan? I’ll probably only meet a handful of people who have ever been there. And I don’t have to pay for it? Alright. Even though they’re quick and fashion related, these experiences are unique. Tbilisi has become one of my favorite places in the world. The people are amazing, the food is amazing, it looks incredible, and it’s cheap as hell there. I’ll happily come back every time. I don’t have this with all these places, more often it’s shit and I just want to be home. But at least I’ve had the experience.
When do you think you’ll have enough of this lifestyle?
I want to see as much as I can. Maybe not for Fashion Week, but I think that anybody who has the opportunity to see as much of the world as possible, should do it. I would want to travel less frequently, and probably stay a little longer, but, frankly, I don’t see myself ever stopping doing this.
Live From F*cking Everywhere
Reporting live from “everywhere,” photographer Adam Katz Sinding travels around the globe to document the fashion zeitgeist. In this new teNeues | MENDO publication, Sinding widens his scope and explores culture and landmarks with the same sophisticated eye he uses to photograph fashion.
Live From F*cking Everywhere hits the shelves in June.
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