Humphrey is a Pittsburgh-based photographer whose
site Keep Pittsburgh Dope has become synonymous
with Pittsburgh street style.
— Chancelor Humphrey knows Pittsburgh’s streets
well. He scours them often in search of people whose
personal style he can capture on camera.
just over a year, Humphrey, his website
KeepPittsburghDope.com and his social media feeds have
become to Pittsburgh what New York Times photographer
Bill Cunningham’s "On the Street" features
are to the Big Apple’s fashion community. What
Humphrey has curated in this short time is arguably the
most comprehensive portrait of modern Pittsburgh style.
idea of a street style photographer in Pittsburgh might
make some snicker. This is, after all, the city that’s
landed on its share of fashion-flop lists. But this
27-year-old North Sider knows better.
a difference between fashion and style. We got a unique
style here," he says. "In the pictures, I’ll
guide a person, but when they make that turn to look at
the camera, that’s their expression and it’s always
no nonsense. … It’s like, this is Pittsburgh."
a recent afternoon downtown, Humphrey (a thin, towering
guy whose own style is a mix of relaxed and refined)
spotted a blonde in a pencil skirt and blouse at the
corner of Fifth and Liberty avenues. He darted to the
curb to snap a quick picture of her from behind as she
crossed the street, unaware that she was his muse for
the moment. On another street, a young man’s sleek
sneakers got his attention. A couple of others Humphrey
approached that day smiled but declined to be
few blocks away from Point Park University, he stopped a
young woman in active wear topped with a fringed
eternity scarf and sunglasses. She not only agreed to
have her photo taken, she recognized him.
love it," he says about the slice of local fame he’s
gotten since launching Keep Pittsburgh Dope. On
Instagram and Twitter combined, his following exceeds
11,000. "Man, it’s like what I do affects
now, he shoots most of his street style photography
downtown, but he also enjoys scouting other
love to go to Oakland and see the high-fashion finds
along with the thrift finds," he says. "There’s
always just awesome style."
the summer, photography has become his full-time gig. He
left his day job as a loan document specialist at PNC
Firstside Center to build up Keep Pittsburgh Dope and
pursue opportunities to shoot campaigns for other
brands, such as BikePittsburgh and Chromos Eyewear.
a photographer, however, was never something he
envisioned for himself.
thought I was going to be an NBA player," he says.
native of Aliquippa, Pa., he grew up playing basketball,
including two years at Penn State Beaver before
transferring to the university’s State College campus.
There he switched his major from business to
communications and got interested in radio, even landing
a job at a local station.
in Pittsburgh, he found himself at a crossroads. He
started a website that covered local events and
newsmakers, but it failed to get traction. Plus,
sometimes his photographers wouldn’t show up. That’s
when Humphrey decided to get a camera and teach himself
how to take photos. Soon after came Keep Pittsburgh
noticed a void as far as street photography and street
style photography here in Pittsburgh," he says.
"I’ve always been a fan of street style
photography in New York, so it just seemed like kind of
the name? He credits that to a shot in the opening
credits of the comedy TV series "Portlandia"
that reads "Keep Portland Weird" in graffiti.
kind of just hit me, Keep Pittsburgh Dope, because I
always use ‘dope’ in my everyday slang," he
says. "It just made sense."
been inspired along the way by the likes of Cunningham
and Scott Schuman, the fashion photographer known for
his street style blog and books called "The
Sartorialist." He also gets ideas from
collaborating with other young local photographers, such
as Cody Baker. But one of his biggest motivations is his
mom. Growing up, it was just the two of them, he says,
so he sees photography not only as a way to build a life
for himself but also to take care of her someday.
he’s made a lot of progress so far, he’s just
getting started, he says. He hopes to evolve Keep
Pittsburgh Dope into a lifestyle brand that includes
events, branded goods and more.
just learning as I go," he says. "The time is
now to do anything creative in Pittsburgh."