Final Major Project Reviews & Critique summary & Looking Ahead

A final review and critiques of my online book Hong Kong Barbers; Grooming Evolution

The last few weeks of my study at Falmouth University I have shown my penultimate draft version of my book via, an online 3D flipbook to varies groups of people.

This is the feedback I have had so far:

Professional & Expertise reviews & critiques

Professor Andrew Kulman MA RCA • PFHEA•  NTFS•  FRSA

Principal Lecturer and Professor of Graphic Art. Award-winning Illustrator with 30 years of industry engagement

” This body of work presents a really comprehensive insight into a particular trade and is at once as revealing as it is impressive on a technical note. I was particularly interested in the way Paul has caught the attention to detail when he examines the interior spaces that Barbers tend to inhabit, capturing these very personalised habitats and showing us something that could be seen as very intimate, even private. The range of material here is quite immersive given that there must be a sense of decline in bespoke barber shops?
I would certainly commend Paul in the way he has given this material due consideration, there is a sense that he has forged close associations with the workforce and gained their trust, something that is hard won but reaps real value when it genuinely takes place, I would suggest that the real strength lies not only in the quality of the reportage photography but also in the way each page cries out authenticity.
The design and continuity of selected sequential groupings of images are again impressive and there seems to be an unfolding narrative at play.
A very insightful project and one worthy of mainstream publication.”
Andrew Kulman    21.8.2018


Course Director MA Visual Communication – Subject Leader – Photography
Robert kindly gave me some advice and a very detailed critique of my book and detailed a list of design elements and image selections there were very strong and not so strong.
Roberts comments were very useful and constructive and helpful.
As a result of these comments and my own University of Falmouth lecturers advice, some final edits have been made to enhance its readability and viewing.


Frank Lau,  who is a Visualizer Group Head at, with over 26 years in the creative advertising industry.

Frank took a long time viewing all of my pictures in the book, He said my work was of a high quality, and he picked out many images with an approving nod of his head, he picked out many he liked such as one of my images I produced this year for the book  last page of the cutthroat razor being held. Frank compared my work with Wing Shya (Shya, 2018) a renowned Hong Kong Photographer whose work I viewed my self at the Art Central Exhibition in Wan Chai in 2018; Frank said my photographs was as good as if not better in his view and of high quality. He also mentioned my work with quad tone images was something he had never seen before. And he agreed there were some similarities to those images to that of Frank Miller the famous graphic novel artist, whose work I also admire. On reflection, I was quite taken back by the comparison, given I have somewhat limited resources regarding production costs.

I asked if he thought people would buy a book like this in Hong Kong, moreover where would it sit in the world of photography. Frank said probably at an exhibition, and a book review would be the best place to expand on my work. I agreed with this idea as I am planning to hold an Exhibition of my work here in Hong Kong along with a preview of my book, which is still an ongoing project which I will probably continue for a while. This is one of the reasons I will not be publishing my book until sometime after I complete my MA in photography.

Local Hong Kong photographers  Dr John M.Low and my fellow MA student Wing Lun 

I asked what they thought of my photos and my latest work in progress draft book layout.

I used my IPAD Pro to show my now 300 plus pages PDF book in its fairly raw view, and I allowed them to look at the photographs and told them a little about the project. They said I should keep all the images in the book and that they were working very well and the flow of the book felt right.

They also suggested I avoid putting lots of text with the images as they thought the images worked already and perhaps I could have a thumbnail index at the end of the book to describe a little more about each image. John mentioned. Also, he was struck at how relaxed the barbers looked and he thought I did really well as a western person to be able to get so close to these groups of people. And he thought even a local native speaking person would have difficulty in getting these sorts of pictures. It was also mentioned it was an interesting project.

Philip Morris fellow MA photography student who is a creative food and still life photographer.

Very first impression – these are very strong, powerful images.
I like the interactivity that the presentation offers – the book is easy to navigate and ‘read’. I have liked your work since the beginning of the MA, and the premise for your project since it was introduced to the cohort. Consequently, I expected something good and I have waited with anticipation.

This body of work delivers by the spadeful, again and again. These images are a pleasure to view and have a richness which is glorious. The presentation surface is very well suited to the project theme. The narrative builds to a crescendo, before descending, to rise again, and again as each chapter of the story unfolds. The bottles of Penhaligon’s Blenheim Bouquet and Bayolea are nice touches to have captured in Oi Kwan’s barbershop. I feel this project has been resolved and presented to a very high professional standard. Identifying images to ‘cull’ or edit out has been difficult – I don’t think a pixel has been wasted.”

Looking ahead briefly

My project titled Hong Kong Barbers: Grooming Evolution is ready for the final assessment for my MA Photography course at Falmouth University in the U.K. This work is now available to publish or develop further.

At this stage, I’m not publishing my work in public even though it has been well received by everyone that has reviewed it so far, as I’m more interested in developing this project further so I will print a copy of the book for a preview event at a later date. I have already thought about the outcome of the physical book printing and the audience and my plans. I have already decided on the size and the paper type and format. Due to the size of the book and number of pages I have not printed out a dummy book as this was not practical given the amount of time and ink and lack of studio space.  In fact, the last dummy book I produced in an earlier study module was about 35 pages or so and that took a substantial amount of time to create at home. For the selection of my photos, I have used the floor of my apartment for printing out most of the book images and arranged for selection. For the production process of the book, I prefer the digital viewing apps to allow me to review and edit and arrange the layout.  In terms of the outcome, I prefer the physical book to the online version, which will happen at some stage, but these are the resources I have right now. I will probably need a hardback cover, but I will seek further advice. I am not planning to create an elaborate fold-out book, although I am thinking of having a special edition barber event foldout supplement. Generally, I will be keeping things more simple and choose probably a satin paper or glossy paper coating.

As well as photography, during this course, we have been encouraged to wear many hats, from graphic designer, web page designer, desktop publishing, writer, curator, production editor, sound editor, movie editor, to name a few, but to me its better to focus on the quality of the work itself and build and develop more knowledge as this a never-ending learning experience.

In case anyone is interested below is a brief list of the technical tools I have used for producing this project although this is not an exhaustive list, I will try to summarise.

Camera Gear
Digital Camera gear: Fuji XT2, Canon 7D mark ii, Canon 6D, mainly fast manual or portrait and wide lenses.

Film Camera gear: Hasselblad  500c m, Rolleiflex Automate, Yashica D medium format using varies black and white and colour film.

Software (although not an exhaustive list) used: Adobe Photoshop cc, Adobe Indesign, Lightroom cc, Luminar, DXO Photo Lab, Capture One, Topaz Studio.

3D Flipbook WordPress plugin sample screen grab of my project book – Paul Peach 2018


One Comment

  1. Paul Peach’s publication is an artistic photographic encyclopedia with emotion. His documentation of Hong Kong’s barbershops and their occupants is an important contribution to the shifting political and cultural landscape of HK.

    His images reflect a level of intimacy that are hallmarks of being immersed with his subjects. His methodology is both ethnographic and auto-ethnographic, essential to photo documentation that resonates with the general public.

    Peach’s use of light and shadow, at times, is melancholic, deepening our understanding of his subjects. His compositions effectively balance the artistic and photojournalist line, with subtle painterly hints of light and shadows.

    Peach has produced a invaluable body of work with substance . Window motifs reveal humanity’s simple gestures that highlight community spirit, respect and appreciation. The book is an outstanding bible of Hong Kong’s barbers that deserves a place on our bookshelves.

    Mandisa Baptiste

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