During my study so far I have found it quite difficult to research other photographers in general as there are simply so many and it’s becoming harder to distinguish one from the other at times, while I am interested in photography and the way other photographers work and construct images and how they decide on images in their respective collections, it seems to me there is a lot of overworked descriptions of images and their meaning. In some cases, it feels almost prescriptive in nature. Having said that there are a few photographers that have been brought to my attention, such as Zed Nelson and Alec Soth who have produced books that would be a direction I would like to go into. Alec Soth’s see Fig 2 work from the book Broken Mountain is somehow in his sequence of images moving on, without staying in one place, but still, holds the theme of the book. In contrast to Zed Nelson’s book (fig 2) Gun Nation, the theme is much stronger and the intent is stronger but also moves on in a smooth manner in the sequence.
My inspiration does not come from copying or following others work, it comes from within me and my surroundings and my past experiences.
Deciding on my final images for my work in progress portfolio assignment of Shanghai and Cantonese style barbershops in Hong Kong was not easy to do, given the thousands of images I took. Well, in the end, I used a PDF format to present as this perhaps brings me closer to a book format for future presentation. I thought about video, which incorporated sounds or even music, but since I did not have any audio voice suitable at this time I decided to look at online port portfolio websites that are specifically designed for photographers, so I set up a presentation on Portfoliobox.net, which worked quite well, but I think for the convenience of viewing this portfolio, I decided this format was better for my MA study. I wanted to show a full bleed on my images, but as I wanted to incorporate captions this time it was not always easy without adding actual text on top of the image, as this was drawing the viewer away from my image, so in the end I went for an almost theatre look with black either side and black on top, almost like a curtain. I remember watching Starlight express and Saturday Night Fever in London many years ago and as barber shops are a little like a theatre really.
I wanted the title page to be subtle and so I took a photograph of all the business cards and stickers in one shot to Illustrate the styles and perhaps personalities of each business, I made it black and white so as not to distract from contemporary fonts I used. I then darkened the image to the point it was no longer distracting. The captions which I used represented the conversations I had during and after the shots of each barbershop. After some time searching the terms second and first generation I decided to drop the name of second and first generatShanghaighai or Cantonese barbers as this was an implied derogatory remark and was not a good way to describe some of these barbershop practices.
The captions which I used represented the conversations I had during and after the shots of each barbershop. After some time searching the terms second and first generation I decided to drop the name of second and first generation Shanghai or Cantonese barbers as this was an implied derogatory remark and was not a good way to describe some of these barbershop practices, so I used terms such as Shanghai-style or Western-centric so as not help define Western-centric ground of the people involved in these barbershops.
Fig 1 Backdrop image for title cover to help contextualise my work: Paul Peach 2017 image of Business cards & stickers from each barbershop
Nelson, Z. (2017). Gun Nation. [online] Zed Nelson. Available at: http://www.zednelson.com/?GunNation [Accessed 21 Feb. 2017].
Soth, A. (2010). Broken Manual « Alec Soth. [online] Alecsoth.com. Available at: http://alecsoth.com/photography/?page_id=213 [Accessed 12 Mar. 2017].
List of Barbershops featured
OI KWAN BARBER’S, 20 Spring Garden Lane, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
AMBASSADOR BARBER PARLOUR, 23 Lan Fong Road, Causeway Bay Hong Kong
HANDSOME FACTORY, 27 Haven Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
NEIGHBORS BARBERSHOP, Room 3, 4th Floor, Winful Centre, 30 Shing Yip Street, Kwun Tong, Hong Kong
THUG BARBER, 10th Floor, How Ming Factory Building, How Ming Street, Kwun Tong, Hong Kong
BLACK CAT, Siu Cheung Building, No.1-7 Siu Cheung Fong, Chiu Kwong Street, Hong Kong