Photographer Seleen Saleh has been documenting New York City street style for the past five years. Inspired by the authentic creativity of her subjects, Saleh has introduced elements of street style photography into her editorial work, including scouting locations on he fly and working with a much smaller team.
Known for her talent for creating beautifully composed images that exude warmth and energy, Selah published a collection of her street style photos in a 2020 in book titled Street Culture. She is is now in the process of launching a second edition.
In an email exchange, Saleh shared with us her thoughts on post-pandemic style trends, upcoming projects and what drew her to photograph streetstyle.
Enjoy the exchange below along with images she captured during New York’s most recent fashion week.
Snobette: What attracted you to documenting streetstyle?
Seleen Saleh: “I came from shooting editorials and working with big teams of hair, makeup, manicurist and stylist. Sometimes I felt like there was a disconnect when shooting. Whether it was from the model, makeup, styling or even the concept. I started feeling like the shoots were forced or we were trying too hard. I like images to look a bit more natural. The people I met were so authentic and their style was very creative and refreshing. They really personified whatever they were trying to convey. For example, one of my favorite photographs was my friend Ellen (above), who is from Eritrea. She was dressed as an Ethiopian Frida Kahlo. Her black top was detailed with ornate gold flowers paired with a crown of real flowers and tons of gold bangles.”
“I am now focusing on the fine art side of fashion photography where the team is smaller and we give space for the creativity to flow by not having every element pre arranged. For example, I love finding locations on the spot. I start with an idea of the area, then the day of the shoot we go with what feels right.”
Snobette: Have you noticed a shift in style or behavior after the pandemic?
Seleen Saleh: “I have noticed a change in style since the pandemic. More and more people are coming back to their roots with their style. I see a lot of vintage pieces being worn and they look great. Also the world is pushing for more sustainable fashion.”
Snobette: Are there times you change your mind about taking a photo of a particular subject?
Seleen Saleh: “Yes, but usually it’s because there is another shot I see or the person is talking and I can’t get a good angle.”
Snobette: What are three qualities that make a good street style photographer?
Seleen Saleh: “I think a great street style photographer is someone who can capture the character of a person in their photo. One who captures a moment and someone who connects with their subjects.”
Snobette: Do you plan on releasing a second book?
Seleen Saleh: “Yes, I hope to start working on it later this year.”
Snobette: What is your dream photo project or subject?
Seleen Saleh: “It would be to complete and have a solo exhibit of a series I started in 2002 called “Royal Antiquities.” This series celebrates the divine feminine and her connection to spirituality. I plan to photograph a series of women in countries across the globe in spiritual sites.”