Consider This Your Home
I photograph in barbershops because I’ve always been fascinated by communities, how they form, who’s in and who’s out. I was interested in why barbershops were communities to begin with, and how these communities differed and were the same. I was also curious as to how men presented themselves across a variety of communities.
While there are certainly differences that are neighborhood specific, all people go to barbershops to true up their look. This choice on how to present is a large part of a person’s identity. Having one’s barber get that right is a matter of trust, and that trust goes a long way towards building community. This, along with the intimacy that comes with the physical act of getting a haircut, the constant banter, the families that come in and the shop’s neighborhood, are all what I believe create community in any one particular barbershop.
I started photographing in barbershops in more of a documentary style for “Consider This Your Home” and then gradually moved towards the portrait work “Present....” In the beginning it was all about the visuals of a particular barbershop, but then one of the barbers asked if I might work with him on creating a hairstyle guide using his customers. I did a number of these and thought of them more as community portraits. To create these, though, I would set up a studio inside of the barbershop, replete with lights and a paper backdrop. People would get a haircut and then if they wanted, I would create their portrait and send them a professional portrait, something most people didn’t have. I fell in love with doing the portrait work and the posters, and most recently, the animations. Head Games is an example of 287 haircuts and is on my website. I have also animated one of the hairstyle guides so that heads are turning all the way around.
My original thinking was that people went to certain shops for specific looks, and that this was community based. There is certainly some of that, but it was too general a supposition. How people chose to present, that’s what it’s about.