Photoshoot & Interview Neighbor Barbershop Prince Edward Hong Kong
This photoshoot is interesting as I am revisiting Neighbors Barbershop, which I previously took photos of in 2017, but they now have a new barbershop in Prince Edward in Hong Kong. So after a quick WhatsApp to Matt Lau, one of the co-founders or partners of this barbershop, I arranged an interview and photoshoot. This barbershop is located in the heart of Prince Edward in Hong Kong, this is not a location you would expect to see such a prestigious and prominent barbershop, but this tells you a lot about the people who have set this up.
Before I went to see Matt by chance I also went to a local coffee shop nearby as its a bit of a walk with my camera gear from the MTR Prince Edward station (underground train station), I needed a quick break to soak in the area. This coffee shop was also a new startup, so I got the sense this is an up and coming area, given the high price rents of Hong Kong island and Kowloon side of Hong Kong.
Before I entered the barbershop, I took some external shots of the outside to get a feel for the place. Matt was on his way so I was greeted by another male and female barber and also a cat named Garfield whos picture is also on the IPAD used to check and make an appointment with. This barbershop is a lot different to the one they have in Kwun Tong, it’s much more uninformed in the decor with the navy blue panelled doors and cabinets and has a new more local feel to the place. The hair washing basin is a front hair washing style typical of Hong Kong style but is much more traditional in style. Beside each barber chair, there’s a tool drawer and shelves for men’s grooming tools and hair products. Also beside each chair is a hot towel storage unit for shaving and the like. Although most of these features were also in the Kwun Tong barbershop, they seem to be placed in a less uninformed way than in their Kwun Tong Barbershop.
Going back to the cat whos home appears to be in the shop, it struck me that in my 10 years here in Hong Kong cats are very significant and are often present in trading shops, that are usually in the heart of the community, not in the mainstream shops of shopping malls. (Stone, 2018) Cats are also regarded as lucky charms (Time Out editors, 2018), they are also used to keep the mice out of the shops (Chan, 2018).
This fascination for cats and its lucky charm aspect is for sure a very Hong Kong tradition especially in trade shops, so I thought it was essential to include this picture in my book.
So after some initial photos, I began my interview with Matt at the Neighbor barbershop. I used the same set of open questions based on my previous interviews. Matt provides eyebrow services and is also a co-founder or partner of the business, and perhaps we can say he’s a manager and an eye shaving grooming consultant. As with other barbers who I have spoken to so far he viewed everyone as equal in a sense they are their own masters and are part of the traditional Hong Kong barber ideology and practice, we can say its a team effort.
Stone, M. (2018). Hong Kong shop cats – in pictures. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2017/jan/02/hong-kong-shop-cats-marcel-heijnen-in-pictures [Accessed 22 Apr. 2018].
Time Out editors, T. (2018). Hong Kong’s top 10: Lucky charms. [online] Time Out Hong Kong. Available at: https://www.timeout.com/hong-kong/things-to-do/hong-kongs-top-10-lucky-charms [Accessed 18 Apr. 2018].
Chan, A. (2018). Photo series of cats in Hong Kong’s shops and stores. [online] Coconuts. Available at: https://coconuts.co/hongkong/features/picture-purrfect-photo-series-hong-kongs-shop-cats-so-hot-right-meow/ [Accessed 18 May 2018].