liisa has chronicled inspiring people and their style for over 13 years and counting. a true documentarian; covering two continents and three cities, her diligence and eye are an inspiration.
you have three street style blogs now! hel looks (helsinki looks), sf looks, and nyc looks! what made you want to start your blog and can you share any insight on how you have kept up with it?
i launched hel looks in july of 2005, before street style blogging became a major thing. i was inspired by the glam rock kids of helsinki, fruits magazines and books by shoichi aoki. in the summer of 2005, day and night young glam rock kids were hanging outside kiasma, the museum of contemporary art. they were hard core hanoi rocks fans and their showy, colorful looks caught my attention. after a visit to stockholm i realized there was something really unique about helsinki street style and i wanted to share it with the rest of the world.
more so than fashion editorials, aoki’s magazines were my fashion bible. my first stop whenever i traveled was the local japanese book store so i could get my hands on the latest issue of fruits. eventually i subscribed to fruits, and even interviewed mr aoki in tokyo in 2006.
when my husband and i moved to san francisco in 2014 for his job, it was very clear to me that i would continue photographing people. my colleagues thought i would suffer because there was no style in sf! i wanted to show them that was in fact untrue, and i did! there’s more to sf than sweaters and sneakers. starting sf looks was also the perfect way to get to know the city and meet new people.
we moved to new york a year ago and of course i launched nyc looks! i’ll never stop shooting, it is my number one obsession. my dream is to become the bill cunningham of helsinki – i would like to move back some day and continue shooting as long as i am able to bike around the city. for me, taking photos is about documentation. i think our everyday styles are an important part of our culture and communication, so it deserves to be documented.
who inspires you and why?
bill cunningham for sure, he never stopped, never gave up, followed his true passion and to my understanding never criticized anyone’s personal style. he was a kind person, and what is better than that?
i’m inspired by all the amazing people whom i’ve met and photographed. many of my subjects are creatives and i’ve discovered and learned so much from them. in sf i met this amazing artist named michelle morby who is now painting portraits based on my photographs. here in new york i’ve met talented designers like kim shui, stylist like jessica wu and artists like raina hamner. no need to read fashion mags when you are a street style photographer, there is a constant flow of new ideas!
last but not least, my husband. i wish i had some of his discipline and patience. he is constantly studying and learning new things, no matter how big or challenging they might be. he has this admirable quiet yes can do mentality.
do you have any specific goals for your blog this year?
gain more followers, just because i would love more people to see my photos. i’d like to try to publish one photo a day whilst keeping the quality high. i’d like to continue to meet new and interesting people on the streets of new york and explore more of brooklyn, the bronx and queens.
any advice for up-and-coming bloggers out there?
follow your heart, do not try to imitate others, do what inspires you.