Nabile Quenum, the Parisian street style photographer, has passed away at the age of 32. Known for his popular blog J’ai Perdu Ma Veste, Quenum was a fixture on the Fashion Week circuit, covering street style across the globe for this publication and others, including GQ and New York Magazine.
Quenum was born in Paris, though he spent the better part of his childhood in West Africa, and that rich, transcultural upbringing no doubt honed his point of view. “He had a great sense for color. He always wanted to shoot things from a bright, sunny perspective,” says Lurve magazine editor Lyna Ahanda, who worked with Quenum. “I remember him telling me how taking photos saved his life.”
That keen eye for fashion was matched only by his inimitable sense of personal style and irrepressible optimism. Quenum stood out in the crowd outside the shows, where his colorful, dapper ensembles and his signature circular glasses were always accompanied by a warm smile. Indeed, his friends and colleagues remember him as a man who saw the best in others. “He was the glue that held this community together. He will be deeply missed,” says photographer Scott Schuman. Below, street style photographers share their fondest memories of Quenum.
“We met on the streets in Paris, shooting street style, I would say, about four years ago. Since we were both into basketball and hip-hop—and fashion photography, obviously—we connected pretty quickly and ended up hanging out outside of work. We went to a hundred fashion parties together, dancing and having lots of fun. We played basketball together all over the world—Tokyo, Tbilisi, NYC, Paris, Copenhagen, Milan, London. He was one of the main photographers during Fashion Week, very passionate about what he did and super ambitious as well. His personal style was also unique. He knew how to mix many colors and pulled off some crazy outfits nobody else could have worn. I think this year, he wanted to do a portraiture project in Benin, where he was raised. He will be missed and he definitely influenced a lot of people in the world, for his style and work. Repose en paix frère.”
“I’m proud to have been able to call Nabile a friend, someone whose love of life was truly infectious. I’ll miss you, Nabile.”
“The sudden and tragic loss of Nabile is shocking and heartbreaking. He was incredibly passionate and adored by many. He had an uncanny ability to make anyone smile and dance for him. His joyful spirit and enthusiasm will be missed.”
“He was a wonderful person bringing sunshine to the street. He had a great eye for style and was one of the hardest working photographers. We had great fun, always pushing each other to take it one step further. ‘Challenge yourself’ was his motto. He inspired all of us because he was funny and smart. We will all miss him so much.”
“I think Nabile was one of the best street style photographers because he actually had such a strong personal style. His images were a true reflection of his own personality—full of life and joy and seeing the best in people. I really respected him as a person and an image-maker. He had a little bit of an edge, which I liked. I also respected that he was able to cross between and bring together the different cliques of street photographers. He was the glue that held the community together. He will be deeply missed.”
“I really appreciated my conversations with Nabile. He was a great observer and very insightful. We often talked about work and he always kept it real. I appreciated his no-nonsense, frank honesty. And he was quite funny, a bit of a flirt—which I adored—and an all-around caring person.”
“I have known Nabile since his very first days of shooting street style. We met in London and were very close friends for some years. Learning of this horrible news a few days ago was very unexpected. This job is terribly hard. Nabile worked very hard and I always respected that about him. However, one can easily be consumed by this job . . . spending the majority of one’s life behind the viewfinder or in front of Photoshop. If I can take anything away from this, it is to take a step back from this career we have chosen and to take more time to live this life, which passes by so quickly.”
—Adam Katz Sinding