Friday, June 28, 2013

Andrew Esiebo on NYT Lens Blog - West African Barber Shop Project

I am always interested in new photography projects, and how to find them. Many times, they end up being concepts that sound routine, banal, but once the photos are made, an unexpected depth is discovered.
Nigerian photographer Andrew Esiebo decided to photograph barber shops across West Africa, including the countries of Ivory Coast, Senegal, Benin, Ghana, Liberia, and Mauritania. Mr. Esiebo comments on the trust that is required to allow a barber to shave you with a straight razor; it leads to a special kind of relationship.
Mr. Esiebo found similarities in the shops across West Africa - hand painted signs, posters of sports teams, religion, famous musicians. He also noted how similar hair styles are across the region, even though each may connote a different meaning in different countries. Men's hairstyles can be intended to communicate toughness, freedom from conformity, or attractiveness to females.
Mr. Esiebo notes that most foreign photographers coming to Nigeria want to focus on photographing the slums. He feels that the barber shop project provides a different view. I agree.
(Click Here) to read the entire post on the New York Times' blog "Lens."