IDYSM: Hey Angel, thanks for taking the time to talk to IDYSM.  So, first up, tell us about your work.
Angel: I run a popular blog that started in 2009 based out of New Jersey called www.vagrantsneaker.com that focuses on certain trainer models.
It allows me to have a voice that I can share with others, and it’s not just another blog that copies and pastes either, it has original content by way of photographs and writing in a manner thats not just off PR releases.  The writing is very honest and to the point with as much detail as I can give to help the reader best understand the product.
There’s also www.angelsviewfinder.com which was supposed to host my portfolio and other things related to my photography, but I have since put it on hold because the format that it’s in now is not what I want. So, I look to take other avenues this year and see what I can find that will be suitable to present my photos in a professional portfolio.
IDYSM: I’m guessing we have a shared motivation of fusing a love of sneakers with a love of photography.  How and when did it all begin for you?
Angel: Back in 2007 a friend of mine who collects sneakers was showing me his collection and what sites and stores he used to go to make purchases.  Looking at his collection I saw some interesting color-ways and materials that sparked my interest.  After that, I went in full swing and did my research about the current state of sneaker collecting and wearing. Through that, I came across a wdywt thread at Crooked Tongues. There, I saw some really nice trainers people were wearing and it also had some interesting photographs by certain people that inspired me in doing the same. I started with an iPhone 3G, than two Panasonic point and shoots and finally my current DSLR, the Nikon D3100 with 5 different lens.
 
IDYSM: I’ve admired your beautiful sneaker shots for some time and I’ve always wanted to know, is your goal to make each shot showcase sneakers as art pieces?
Angel: Thank you for the kind words Lester. Yes, that is the goal and always has been. As with any art piece in a museum, I also value the quality and workmanship that goes into building a shoe/sneaker. Being passionate about them as I am, I want to present them in their full glory. Something people will look at and talk about as if they are looking at a painting. So when similar collectors around the world view my photos, they get one of the best interpretations of what we appreciate and love. In the same token, It’s probably the best way to honor the worker/s that put so much energy into providing us with good products for our feet.
IDYSM: I’m guessing you’ve admired kicks and their cultural influence for some time, how did this love affair with kicks begin for you?
Angel: Not everyone will see a sneaker like I do. So by providing them with an unseen perceptive, it sparks an emotion and appreciation that wasn’t there before. Someone that may have seen a photo of a shoe in a magazine or website, will have a different outlook with my photos. That’s when I knew I had something I could build on. Now I think the influence and power my photos carry, have made an impact in current sneaker photography. Yes, there were others doing it before me but no one stuck to it and tried to do something with it as passionately as I have.
IDYSM: Has your work allowed you to develop a pretty sweet collection, and does your shooting mirror your own tastes?

Angel: It has and at the same time, it’s a curse. Because I appreciate all brands, I tend to like a lot of stuff they put out. It’s so hard to try and not buy something that is striking to me, but I’ve learned to control it nowadays. So I try to stick to limited/exclusive shoes and buy some general releases that I think are worth it in my opinion. For instance, New Balance’s “Made In USA and Made In England” lines are amazing. Those are prime examples of perfect general releases worth spending your hard earned money on. There are others too, but those are my favorite.

IDYSM: Tell us about where you’re based and what’s happening in the scene there at the moment.
Angel: The tides are changing now out here. A city and country dominated by basketball shoes has now seen a huge shift to classic runners. Brands like New Balance, adidas, ASICS and Nike are making huge waves out here with their lifestyle line of trainers. This is something you wouldn’t have seen years ago. I remember back in the 90’s when my friends were saying I was wearing ‘old man’ shoes because I had NB 574’s on or when they were making fun of my ROOS. Now, runners are everywhere. It ‘s like crack.
 
IDYSM: What’s your favourite shot in your portfolio and why?

Angel: Man, you have me on a spot here.  There is one that I always keep going back too. One that is now important to me. The New Balance M1300CL “Steel Blue” photograph you see tells a journey of my comings. It expresses the story of my love for New Balance back when I was in high school, my first official photography job of shooting shoes for Ronnie Fieg and KITH (not the shoe in the photo), the beauty of shooting outdoors and what I have coming for 2013.

IDYSM: If you could shoot any era/person/event/shoe – what would it be and why?
Angel: For me, it would have been the 80’s.  I so wish my interest in photography spanned more then 4 years. There were so many cool things happening back then, that influence today. Especially in the sneaker culture and fashion arenas. The punk scene though would have been my thing as a photographer. The amount of story telling happening back then was fantastic. There’s nothing more interesting to me then that in the 80’s. The music scene in general was something special.
 
IDYSM: What does 2013 hold for you?
Angel: This year I’ll be celebrating 4 years of vagrantsneaker.com so it’s time for a shift in the way I cover and write about sneaker releases. You’ll also see some new ideas from me as a photographer when I create photos for shoes and products. Things like different indoor stages and creative lighting. It’s time to give my followers something new and exciting to see. I’m just happy they keep coming back to read and see what I have to offer at my blog. Also, I’ll be shooting a Fall ’13 campaign for New Balance and they just featured me in their “Excellent Makers” video series. The video is done and approved. I just don’t know when they will be releasing it.
IDYSM: I have to ask, what’s on your feet right now?
Angel: I had a feeling this was coming. Actually, When I’m at my workstation, I’m never wearing anything #onmyfeet. Not even socks. There has to be a time in the day where you have to enjoy your bare feet and appreciate that you have both working properly so you could wear what footwear you love.
As I exit this interview, I wanted to thank you for following my work and having an interest in what I do. It amazes me every time when I find out who’s paying attention to what I’m doing. Especially when it’s from another country. I’m also very fond of what you’re doing here. It’s a more honest approach to what people are wearing around the world and doesn’t require it to be so called “high fashion” to look good. It becomes more apparent to others, and me when you can see a direct approach to ordinary people as they wear their daily outfits. So what you are doing is more important to see than another blog only worrying about what Kanye West  or other celebrities are wearing. Not everyone can afford their cloths, so why try to perceive an image not reachable by everyone? Cheers! …and Keep the Shoes On Your Feet!

 

** All images in this post come courtesy of Angel @ www.vagrantsneaker.com/www.angelsviewfinder.com