Karl Edwin Guerre is a man of style: a street photographer since 2008 and a man of impeccable fashion sense, the Brooklyn-born Guerre is as good in front of the camera as he is behind it. We subjected him to our Zigzag Questionnaire, and this is the result.
Where are you now? As in, right now as you write this?
I’m currently in Brooklyn, New York, sitting at the kitchen table where I’ve been doing most of my work as of late.
Who was the last person you photographed and when? What was so special about them?
Last person I photographed was NY based menswear designer Devon Scott about two days ago. I like that he creates a product that is well cut and of top quality, like traditional Italian designers, while giving his upscale collection a NY soulful feel.
Is personal style more a matter of instinct or of education?
While both instinct and education play a part in personal style, instinct is the deciding factor. Information is easily accessed, but everyone who studies style certainly doesn’t develop a personal style. Those with personal style seem to be true to themselves, which implies knowledge of self.
How do you pick the people you want to photograph?
Generally, I’d rather shoot people who have that natural cool factor. It goes back to the previous question: I enjoy shooting people who seem to be true to themselves, and have knowledge of self. I have also always had a thing for details, I personally believe they can sometimes speak volumes.
What’s the first colour you remember, and why?
Green – it’s my older sister’s first and only favorite colour. As a child I ended up picking a favorite colour because she had one and since then, it has changed at least 3 times.
What’s your relationship with Missoni?
At this point my relationship is one of someone who appreciates the quality, and story behind the brand. As an artist I also acknowledge the brand’s creativity and vision. I have always enjoyed Italian knits, and feel Missoni puts out a modern product that always finds a way to maintain a classic vibe. A prime example are their patterns that have a cool factor while remaining timeless.
Style-wise, is there an era that appeals to you more than others?
Without hesitation I can say no one era appeals to me more than an other. There are key points in at least five different eras that my personal style whispers, such as hats from the Prohibition era (1920-1930) and knits from the 1960’s.
You’re really big on hats. How many do you own? Is there any particular one you like better than the others, or one you had to part with but still miss?
I had around thirty or forty, but have since then downsized to my favorite fifteen. In the past two years I’ve been really focusing on only keeping items that I felt were lifelong journey pieces. There are two hats that I miss – both straw hats. One was too small and I passed it on to my nephew, the second my three-year-old pretty much claimed as hers. While I miss it not being on my head, I enjoyed seeing it on hers even more (she has since ripped the hat apart like any three-year-old).
Do you have a favorite pattern?
I don’t really have a favorite pattern, for me it’s always about my mood. I may wear seersucker’s and madras one season, and the next do something different.
A lot of people struggle with choosing a path in life. How do you go about finding your calling?
I have always been artistic, I had a record label, I’ve self-published two books, and directed a 55-minute movie. My calling is simply to create and share. I believe that for me it’s about knowing when to move on. I have no fear in the unknown – If life directs me in a direction, I’ll follow it as long as I can express myself artistically. I am not a photographer, I am a man who has chosen to express myself through photography – at least for now.
What’s your favourite place in the whole world?
Haiti. While I’ve travelled to many other places in the world, Haiti is the one place where I find balance, and that keeps me centered.
What do you like best, photographing or being photographed?
Without question I prefer to be the one shooting as opposed to being shot.