Simone Oliver on the visual journey of Street Style

When Instagram announced that it would be adding video in mid- 2013, the press immediately dismissed it as a calculated move for parent company Facebook to combat the popular, Twitter owned, Vine video app. Instagram’s change didn’t hurl Vine into the virtual purgatory that Hi5 and Friendster inhabit, as critics were sure it would. Instead, the growth of Instagram pushed Vine to define itself, and it’s done just that, reemerging as comedic community with six second skits and video memes.

The progression from photo to video on the internet has been gradual; YouTube’s arrival in 2005 completely changed the way that society shares information, by generating a video platform for anyone with access to a camera. In less than a decade, it’s spawned an entire enterprise of vloggers, gurus, and entertainers who sustain an income solely from creating videos for their YouTube channel. Video is now a preferred method of communication with the introduction of applications like FaceTime and Skype, and the question of how video and photography will coincide together is becoming a major topic of interest.

We, the people of the internet, now demand more social interaction than ever before. The popularity of video is understandable; it satiates human curiosity more than the pixels in a still image can. A video offers a way to humanize the message that you are delivering – whether from a person or a brand.

Simone Oliver, Online Fashion Editor at the New York Times has an eye for technological trends as much as style trends. She recognized the growing interest in alternative forms of media early on and in 2007 was instrumental in turning Bill Cunningham’s street style column into a fashion soundscape. Each piece has Bill’s voice narrating over his photographs, enthused as he sparks off facts and anecdotes in his signature sweet style. The combination has proven to work well; it offers a more intimate experience and the viewer can glean much about Bill by hearing why he chose to feature certain photos in his column that day.

Simone continued to innovate by adding Intersection, a selection of street style videos to the Style section of the Times. She was inspired by the unique, everyday fashion that New Yorkers are well known for. Using video rather than photography for street style presents the story of these ordinary people in such a different way. People we see in the streets aren’t usually models – what makes them interesting is their styling, and implied confidence more than any particular garment they have on. Intersection has expanded to include people in different epicentres around the world and some more obscure places.

It will be interesting to see what the next advancement in technology will be, but Simone is ready. Her aptitude for incorporating technology and savvy interest in social media is the kind of thing that keeps the Times at the forefront of digital journalism. We visited Simone at the Times headquarters in Manhattan and asked her to share with us what it was like working with Bill, starting intersection and about her fondness for social media.