Jack used to cut my hair but once I started getting my part cut in, I realized that edging up with a straight razor wasn’t his strongest suit. Then I switched over to Ivan for a bit but after he left, I started to book with Raymond. I like chatting with him about his life and watching a 21 year old navigate adulthood. He’ll tell me about his taking care of his little brothers and wanting to travel. I get to share my stories with him and encourage him to see the world. But enough about Raymond, I don’t have any photos of him.
It’s been a bit of a struggle to find something worthwhile to shoot lately. I’ve been super busy with school and find myself shooting a bunch of jiu jitsu. I realize that in order to grow, I need to mix it up and try new things.
After getting a cut, I brought my camera out and started to fiddle with it a bit. I find that in situations like this, you need to introduce the camera to the mix well before you start taking photos. Soon enough, a younger guy getting a cut asks me if it’s a Sony, I tell him it’s a Fuji and we start talking about cameras. Next, another barber asks to see what’s so special about the camera. I use this as an opportunity to snap a few photos of him and show him the results. He replies, “Damn, that’s clean.”
After a few minutes of hanging out, I decide to ask Jack if I can take his photo. Next thing I know, he’s sitting in a chair and I’m framing up my shot. We go out back and take some other photos in the open shade of the building. I know that I want the logo to show but I need Jack to remain the star of the photo. I drop my aperture down to f/3.2 to get some nice shallow depth of field.
Ten minutes later, I’m hanging around trying to strike up the nerve to ask Jesse if I can shoot him. Instead I ask when his next appointment is, he says 30 minutes. Perfect.
Suddenly, I find myself photographing a guy I’ve been wanting to shoot for years now. I’ve never gotten a cut from Jesse but it’s clear that he runs the show at the shop. He’s the owner and an all-around cool guy. Instead of the usual, photographing someone while they are doing something. I’m standing there telling him what to do like a proper photo shoot. Ask and you shall receive.
I often tell my photo students, “If you want to get photos that no one else has, you gotta be willing to do things that no one else will do.” This includes things like laying on the ground, going on stage at events, getting in people’s way, climbing trees and in this case, asking for permission.
I’m pretty happy with how these photos came out considering that they are deviating a bit from what I’ve been shooting for the past 6 months. Change is good right?