Yernar had told me that he was planning to get his hair cut, and though it would make for some good material and he’d call me when he planned to get it done. I was doubtful that I’d have the chance, but a last-minute cancellation meant that I was able to meet up with him.
It turned out that this hairdressing salon was near to where Yernar had used to live, but the people there remembered him even though he hadn’t been there in over four years! I told him that we’d better make sure first of all that it’s ok to shoot, so we asked the hairdresser, who was a little cagey to begin with, but soon relaxed when I told her that she was not the main focus of attention, and even showed her a couple of shots on the back of the camera to restore her confidence. In the end she proved to be very kind and supportive, and refused to take any money from Yernar for her services.
It was quite difficult to get a shot that included the rest of the salon while showing Yernar (since he was seated lower than the other clients) and avoid including myself in the reflection in the mirror!
From this series, I’m looking at using either image 9 or 11.
Yernar sporting his Clark Gable look:
I’m not sure whether I’ll end up using any of these images, but it was nice to spend some time bonding with Yernar, plus it was at his own initiative to arrange the shoot. It kind of fits in with what Howard Becker said about the work of Douglas Harper, who photographed hobos shaving:
“the photograph of a man shaving needs to be seen in context, as Harper points out, as evidence that refutes the common notion that these men are bums who don’t take care of themselves and don’t share conventional standards of decorum” (Becker 1995, p 11)
It also works in the same way that Dinara shopping for clothes works to challenge stereotypes that disabled people needn’t bother with how they look (see Cat Smith, Dazed Digital article).