'I usually get up pretty early, around 6.15am. It may sound boring but the first thing I do when I wake up is go to the computer and check my sitemeter. My blog [thesartorialist.blogspot.com] is my passion and business, and I average about 45,000 to 46,000 hits a day. I also check nothing has blown up over the world so I quickly visit Cnn.com, Espn.com and, of course, Wwd.com to find out what's going on in the fashion world.
After that I throw on some clothes and make a coffee run to Starbucks. I don't really care what I wear at that time of the morning because, although there are many fashion people who live around me, they're rarely awake. When I come back I get my eldest daughter, who is eight, ready for school.
While my wife takes her to school, I work on my blog and simultaneously get my younger daughter dressed and fed for school. I used to be a stay-at-home dad so my daughters and I have a really close relationship. It was good for us to bond while they were young. Now that the blog has taken off, it's still nice for me to have this morning ritual with my daughters.
Once the morning routine is over, I get dressed for the day. Considering I run a blog on personal style, I try to dress well but in a way that is appropriate for both the weather and what I'm doing for the day. I would describe my style as a cross between an old-school Italian look - I do most of my shopping in Milan and I like to go to the tailors there - and classic sporty Americana, finished off with a touch of exotic detailing a la Dries van Noten.
I'm also a big fan of designers such as Thom Browne.
I love the fact his clothing is always slightly off - everything is a just a little bit tighter or a little bit shorter. It's more interesting to me when someone knows how to layer texture, pattern and colour in a way that represents their personality.
I start most working days by going to business appointments or by hitting the streets to begin shooting. Where I go depends on what kind of vibe I'm going for. Living in Manhattan is great because the different neighbourhoods have such distinctive styles. So if I feel like I've spent a lot of time on the Upper East Side, where people are slightly dressier, I might decide to switch and head over to the East Village or Harlem to get something different. In general, however, I try and keep my mind open in terms of what kind of style I'm looking for, otherwise I end up missing people who could be great for the blog. I also rarely shoot at night because I don't use a flash.
In the beginning, approaching people for a photograph was a little intimidating. In a city like New York, people are always rushing off somewhere and don't particularly enjoy being stopped in their tracks by someone asking to take their picture. Now, as the blog has become more known, people get really excited when I ask to take their photo, which flatters me immensely in return. It's been two years now and the technique I've developed when it comes to approaching people is pretty foolproof.
I can normally see the person I want to photograph from far away, so I can place myself in a situation where I can walk with him or her until they are in a place where I can take their picture. I can almost instantly tell who will say yes and who will say no. The great thing is now that a lot more people recognise me, they participate, in the sense they are willing to pose in different ways or move around to help make sure I get the best possible photograph.
Travelling has become a big part of my life as I am commissioned by big magazines and websites such as Style.com to take pictures of cities around the world.
I've been sent to Paris, London, Milan, Antwerp, Stockholm and, now, to Hong Kong and Beijing, where Lane Crawford has invited me for the opening of its new store. I immediately jumped aboard because I'd never been to Asia before.
Coming here, I didn't know what to expect. I've heard that Hong Kong women are really stylish and I walked around a little today to try and get some photographs - although I haven't taken any yet. Right before I came here, I received about 90 comments from people in Hong Kong hoping to bump into me. I didn't even know that many people from here read my blog. Even though I know people from all around the world read it, it still freaks me out when I am somewhere in Sweden, for example, and I stop someone to take their picture and they know who I am. It is really amazing.
I think the biggest pleasure my blog gives me is that it allows kids in not-so-fashionable areas to have somewhere to go to see things and find looks to aspire to.
I also love that the nature of a blog means I can have a conversation with my audience.
One of my all-time most popular posts was of this incredibly stylish old man in Paris who would only allow me to take his picture if I sat down and had coffee with him. He wanted to know all about New York, and although I was supposed to go to a fashion show that afternoon, it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up. After I posted the entry, I was pleasantly surprised to see how many comments I received and how many people in their 20s and 30s were saying they would love to look like that when they got older. I try to convey that style and beauty can come at any age, with any body shape, nationality, etc.
It feels good to show people that beauty is diverse.
Being a self-taught photographer, I never imagined my passion for photography and fashion would turn into a profitable business. I'm this boy from Indiana who always had a thing for fashion, and now I get to go to all the big shows in Paris, New York and Milan, and people actually respect what I do - it's a dream come true. I used to look at other people's blogs and I would be so impressed that they would get 30 or 40 comments per entry. Imagine my surprise now when I get 100 to 150 comments per entry.
Aside from working on my blog, I am hosting my first solo photography exhibition in New York this month. At this point, my biggest hope is that I'm leaving a legacy of work for my daughters so one day they can look back and be proud of their father. When I'm in New York, I make it home by 6pm every night to have dinner with my family and tuck my daughters into bed. I love that my job allows me to fulfil my two passions - photography and my family.'