BANGOR, Maine — Sidewalks became catwalks in downtown Bangor on Tuesday evening as people donned street fashions to express their personal styles — and to be photographed for River City Cinema’s fashion event to be held Friday, April 22.
The community fashion shoot, “Get Shot in Downtown Bangor,” will continue Thursday evening, April 14, for those who couldn’t attend Tuesday. Fashion photographers James Daigle and Tim Smith will emulate Bill Cunningham, famous fashion photographer for the New York Times, who bikes around New York City capturing images of his one love — clothing. Daigle and Smith will take photos of people strolling the streets from 4 to 7 p.m., centering on West Market Square.
“It should be interesting to see what people think of themselves through clothing; and that doesn’t mean that’s what they are, it just means, it’s something they like,” said Daigle. “You can change based on your mood.”
“It’s like having paparazzi. It’s so scary,” said a young man in a black trench coat as Daigle took pictures of him leaving Paddy Murphy’s Pub and using a crosswalk at 5 p.m. Tuesday. He smiled as he hurried down the street to meet up with a group of friends.
Daigle then crossed the street to snap photos of two men in sportsmen attire, one carrying an oar over his shoulder. They looked at the camera and grinned as they strolled past.
“People are so friendly and for the most part, willing to have their pictures taken — but it’s good to have the fliers that explain it,” said Smith, holding up a stack of fliers that explain the River City Cinema event.
The photos of Bangor walkers will be displayed on the big screen during River City Cinema’s fashion show and screening of a documentary, “Bill Cunningham New York,” at 7 p.m. Friday, April 22, at Union Street Brick Church, 126 Union St.
In the documentary, Cunningham says, “Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life. I don’t think you could do away with it. It would be like doing away with civilization.”
The show, emceed by WVOM radio personality Deb Neuman, will feature Bella Luna’s local designers.
“I bet Mr. Cunningham has never seen someone walking down the street in New York with an oar,” said Neuman, as she helped the two photographers navigate downtown Bangor to the Sweetest Thing Event Design Studio on Columbia Street, where smartly dressed people were flocking to attend Greendrinks, a monthly networking event for environmentally conscious people in the Bangor area.
Neuman pulled Greendrinks members out onto the street for Daigle to shoot while Smith prowled the studio. Sweetest Thing co-owner Amber Small, wearing a bright pink cocktail dress, posed with Paddy Murphy’s Pub bartender Chris Rudolph, whose typical casual wear was set off by bright green Adidas.
“I want to be in a photo,” said Johann Sabbath of the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce. He wore a dress shirt and green pants that matched Rudolph’s shoes — but that isn’t Sabbath’s usual attire.
“Whatever Paul Bunyan wears, Johann wears,” said Rudolph.
“I’m just trying to fit in up here,” said Sabbath, a southern Maine native, laughing. “But it’s interesting how the Maine woodsman style is becoming so hip. I’ve seen in other cities people wearing skinny jeans tucked into their Timberland boots, wearing wool … wool is great material.”
“I do love fashion. It’s up and coming in Bangor. It’s definitely getting a little edgier,” said Betsy Johnston, 32, of Hampden after posing for a photo with her friend Wendy Smith, 30, of Bangor outside the Greendrinks event.
“It helps with American Retro and shops like that moving into town,” said Smith.
“My fashion sense I learned from picking potatoes from Aroostook County,” said Mike Dow of the Mike and Mike Show on Kiss 94.5 FM Radio after participating in the shoot. “I had to compromise with the jacket and the sneakers.”
Dow, dressed in a sport coat and khakis, pointed down to his New Balance sneakers, saying he’d never found more comfortable shoes.
Though the photographers will ask some people to strike a pose, they also will shoot candid photos. And they can always hit the delete button if the person would rather not be shown at the event, said Daigle.
Daigle was a fashion photographer in New York for 25 years, and now lives in Maine, which he thinks is a better place to raise his children.
“We’re hoping to keep building the downtown atmosphere,” Daigle said. “That’s what I miss about New York, going out for a walk, seeing people and watching what people wear — I love that part of it, which is what [Cunningham] had the pleasure of being able to do all his life.”
River City Cinema will announce where people can view the photos online and purchase the prints, the profits of which will go to the cinema.
This is a first time for “Get Shot in Downtown Bangor,” and Daigle anticipates repeating the street fashion shoots in the future.
For information, visit rivercitycinema.com or call 358-9396. To view a trailer for “Bill Cunningham New York,” visit www.rivercitycinema.com/BillCunninghamNY.html. To see the Facebook event page of “Get Shot in Downtown Bangor,” visit www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=116258301787090.