Halfway to 101 days of street fashion

See who has been caught on camera

CHRIS HYDE
Last updated 12:00 27/02/2013
Shamel Wanis
WARWICK SMITH/ Fairfax NZ
HALFWAY THERE: Shamel Wanis is taking photos of people in the street over 101 days.

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Palmerston North's street-style snapper is used to photographing fashion statements, and now he is making one of his own - "I'm here to stay".

Shamel Wanis made national headlines for his defiant street photography outside The Plaza in the middle of January, but few people would have predicted he would still be taking photos for his art project at the end of February.

Mr Wanis' gargantuan goal was to take a daily photo of a fashionable Palmerston North pedestrian for 101 days in a row.

It is a project that's seen him slapped twice, hacked once by "evil, nasty people" and threatened numerous times.

But 51 days into it, he is now over halfway.

"I'm more confident now because I think now people trust what I'm doing. They know I'm not going to hurt anyone.

"I'm starting to see a trend in the photos too. People are dressing better - I know it's surprising, but they are."

At the beginning of the project Mr Wanis ran into trouble with Palmerston North police for taking the photos on his traffic crossing "runway", and now avoids any confrontation by taking photos around different areas of the city.

He has taken 39,000 photos in 51 days and uploads roughly 15 per cent of them on to his Facebook page each night.

It is an approach that has seen him gain more than 5000 likes for his page "101 days of street fashion statement", although a hacker who posted offensive material and deleted his work still angers him.

Mr Wanis' real pride is in the one photo per day he has saved for his exhibition.

"I get to The Plaza in the morning and sometimes I'm there until 7pm at night, all for that feeling when you take that one photo that works."

He has applied for $15,000 from Creative NZ to bring his exhibition to life.

If he gets that, and the remaining 50 snaps, he will display them free to the community in the City Library in July, complete with coat-hangers to hang them on the wall.

"The photos I have got all have stories behind them now, and the support from most people has been amazing.

"It's been so hard and so hot and there are times when I've got people in my space that I think I really want to [quit].

"But it's my job, my love and I'm here to stay."

He already has plans for a new project called ‘After Eight' where he will take photos of Palmerston North's nightlife.

Another new project idea he has is called "101 days of winter statement", but he is uncertain about the logistics of photography in the cold.

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- Manawatu Standard

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