Photographer Bill Gentle – the New York-based Briton who shot the story you’re reading right now – has built a successful career over the past 12 years from the seed of an idea that has influenced the entire masculine style.
“I was trying to become a fashion photographer and it wasn’t going very well,” he explains. “Then I moved into an apartment in Williamsburg with a big backyard and thought I had challenged myself to shoot friends and people I met, right within the confines of my backyard. Frankly it was getting pretty boring after about three shoots so I migrated to the shoot in their backyard and soon I was shooting everywhere. “
This is the origin story of Backyard Bill, the influential style blog (remember when blogging was all?) That Gentle started in 2008. The idea was to capture and promote a new language that showed that the style could be personal and original, miles away from unreality. of a fashion show. “They were actually people in their own clothes,” he says. “And honestly, I think we’re still feeling the effects of this whole movement.”
For Esquire, this approach resulted in a smooth journey from garages to driveways to, yes, backyards all around New York City over the course of a week, photographing the 10 style-savvy men featured in this profile. But despite the new realities of 2020, Gentle felt like he was retracing his first steps in the world of photography. Because as much as things change, the core values are the same.
“You know, authenticity is everything right now,” he says. “I don’t see my friends being flashy these days. I see them all looking for their own style in a more understated way than before. It’s a style of POV – and a state of mind – that we would all do well to emulate.
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SAUNDERS QUETZAL, 44 years old
Artist, designer, builder, pioneer
Jacket, shirt, pants, shoes and tie by Louis Vuitton Men’s.
Givenchy jacket, turtleneck and pants; moccasins by Jimmy Choo.
JASON “PATTERNPAPI” KUSIMO, 28 YEARS OLD
Tailor, menswear content creator, Twitch streamer
Coat, jacket, turtleneck, pants and moccasins by Dior Men.
Coat, turtleneck, pants and boots by Bottega Veneta.
MAX POGLIA, 39 YEARS OLD
Jacket by Paul Smith; shirt by Hermès; Salvatore Ferragamo pants and shoes; hat, ring and glasses, his.
TOURÉ, 49 years old (with his son, Hendrix)
Writer, podcaster, TV host
Coat by Heron Preston; shirt by Hermès; tie by Alexander Olch; pants by Salvatore Ferragamo; shoes of Mr P.
TAKASHI YAMADA, 49 years old
Cloth guy, surfer, runner, sometimes model
Suit and turtleneck by Ermenegildo Zegna; sandals, hers.
Coat by Massimo Alba; jacket, shirt and jeans by Boglioli; shoes by Santoni.
ROBERTO ROSSELLINI, 27 YEARS OLD
Versatile creative, clothing designer, marine life student, budding music photographer
Jacket, shirt, pants and scarf, Celine by Hedi Slimane; boots by Giuseppe Zanotti.
Saint Laurent shirt and jeans by Anthony Vaccarello; boots by Giuseppe Zanotti.
SEBASTIÃO HUNGERBÜHLER, 23 years old
Gucci jacket, shirt, pants and moccasins; socks by London Sock Company.
Brioni coat, jacket, turtleneck and pants; shoes by Santoni.
ROSE TRAORE, 28 YEARS OLD
Coat, shirt, pants and tie by Prada; shoes, specific to the designer.
Hermès coat, jacket, turtleneck and pants; shoes, specific to the designer.
JOSEPH FALCONE, 34 YEARS OLD
Surfboard maker, hairdresser
Hermès jacket and pants; T-shirt and shoes, his.
Coat and turtleneck by Brioni; Hermès pants; Farewell shoes.
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