Hannan Saleh is not your ordinary photographer…she is a style spotter who has become a designer and bloggers best friend. As a graduate of the Art Institute of Philadelphia in 1998, with a degree in photography, Hannan has been blessing magazines like Uptown and Essence with her amazing knack of catching fashionistas on the streets in their hottest threads.
You can always tell images that were done by Ms. Hannan. Her signature is definitely her sense of color because she captures the most vibrant colors known to man whether it is a pair is shoes, bright capes, or colored hair. She loves patterns that stand out in the crowd, but what she is most iconic for is her subjects… serious fashionistas and mostly bloggers!
Now don't get me wrong, she is not just limited to bloggers (she also featured designers and other fashion enthusiast) but her eye is perfectly trained on us bloggers, always able to spot one in the crowd, especially at New York Fashion Week. According to Hannan, she loves bloggers because of their young and fresh minds and she believes that young people have a voice in art, and she wants to be the first to expose their fashionable wears and ideas via the images that we see each week on Essence.com.
Essence.com Street Style is one of the most popular links to follow on the website as many people get their inspiration from this section of the online mag for accessories, clothing, and brands. So when you are zeroed in on with Hannan Saleh's lens, the popularity of the blogger or designer can increase 10 times over! Fashion bloggers like Sai Sankoh of Because I’m Fabulous and countless other bloggers have confirmed their popularity from these wonderful opportunities in Essence.com with their daring and exciting style.
I had the chance to chat it up with one of my favorite photographers (next to my Father) about her love for beauty and especially bloggers!
Before photography, what did you love to do?
I started as a fine art painter in high school. I painted fashion editorials and did a little writing. I also studied photography but painting was my obsession, then I decided to study photography in college instead and learned to merge the two loves.
Do you think that photography is a spiritual art?
Yes, I do indeed. I believe whether you shoot a person, place or thing there is a spiritual essence or connection that is revealed in photographs. It’s the essence of the creator and the muse.
When did you decide that photography was your calling or career path?
I went to college shortly after high school graduation and decided I should study photography since I did not really have the chance to explore it completely. I started in 1995, and fell in love and never looked back.
What are some of the images that you love to capture?
I love to capture fashion photos that have a lot of shape and are dynamic. I love shooting at very cool locations that have great character and ambiance.
You are the street style photographer for Essence Magazine… How did that happen?
I found out that Essence was looking to expand to other cities. With that I submitted some images I did of fashionable people in Philadelphia, then I explored Washington DC a few times and even Boston for one segment.
You are very supportive of bloggers, why?
I love people that do their own thing. Like entrepreneurs, I am very supportive of people that take the time to start their own company or identity. Personally, I gravitate to people who show their individuality. They are my favorite because their style is true to them!
How does it feel to know that bloggers look for you at events so that you can take their pic?
I never really thought of it like that. I became friends with so many wonderful bloggers. I love it and they always look amazing.
What do you think of the title “Photographer Extraordinaire”?
Who was your first celebrity shot?
Well, I photographed the Roots in 1998, Kindred later on.
What was your first published shot?
The Kindred shoot was for the single, "Far Away".
What can we expect from you in the future?
I plan to do much more published fashion editorials. I hope to restart some personal works that I started years ago and complete that series.
What advice would you offer to young women who are interested being photographers?
I would advise upcoming photographers to find a photographer to intern with. This is even more valuable than school. You can learn all the technical skill, business skills and work etiquette that you need to build a successful company. My advice is work hard, listen well, and shoot as much as you can to help you develop composition and a shooting style.
Why is Hannan Saleh young, hip and chic?
I would say because I love innovators and visionaries and I live the artist way.
Photos: Hannan Saleh/Facebook