Outside the Art Alliance on 18th Street, a paper airplane’s toss from Rittenhouse Square, it’s just another day at the virtual office for Ian Michael Crumm. Surely the architects of this 111-year-old Italian Renaissance palazzo-style mansion never imagined it would one day be used to this end. Crumm is handsome, but with his round baby face outlined by a delicate, carefully manicured beard, he’s not your typical chiseled male model. More important than his physique is his look: stretch denim by H&M, brown leather high tops by Andrew Marc, camo bomber jacket by Guess, wristwatch with camo strap by MVMT, camel-colored leather backpack by Pikolinos, and Crumm’s trademark John Varvatos sunglasses. He leans on a sandstone ledge with his left arm [click], then his right [click]. The bag rests on his shoulder [click]. The bag slides to his right hand [click], with his left leg up on a wall [click], then down to the ground [click]. Crumm moves to the stairs, where he sits, carefully arranges the backpack, and looks off into the distance at nothing in particular [click click click].
“Because when you sit down,” he says cheekily, “everything’s just perfectly positioned.” Crumm gives a quick Miley Cyrus flash of his tongue as his photographer/friend, Briana Sposato, laughs and snaps away.
Crumm is what’s known as a social media influencer, or, to some grandmothers in South Philadelphia, a kid who takes phone pictures for the Internets. This is his job, and no, he doesn’t live in his parents’ basement. He makes a living primarily through taking photographs of himself in different clothes and sometimes in locales of varying glamour, then posting them on his Instagram account, @ianmcrumm, and his blog, “Ian Michael Crumm — Life Connoisseur.” None of this makes Crumm unique; minutes earlier, a 20-something guy in a Yankees cap was mugging for a fancy camera a few blocks away, outside the restaurant Dandelion. I saw two young women in uncomfortably snug minidresses surrounded by a pack of photographers on the Schuylkill Trail the other day. If you’re under the age of 35 and don’t have a FOMO-inducing digital life, you might as well not exist. Read more »