Street Barber Shops
Barber shops are places of male ease. This is particularly true of the very public street barber shops found in crowded shopping areas in developing countries. Most of the patrons have little comfort in their lives nor much idle time. A hair cut or shave or ear clean provides a respite from bone and spirit crushing jobs, the reassuring gentle touch of another person’s hands taking care of you, and a moment of luxury. A barber shop is a political and social haven for men of all ages and classes. It is a place of initiation and tolerance.
One of my grandfather’s many professions was a barber. Maybe that’s why I‘m drawn to photo them. That and the lessons I’ve learned there: personal services provided to people are generous acts that can make an enormous difference in their lives; you never want to make an enemy of your barber because you depend upon him for much of your own self-respect. But most importantly, I learned that a successful barber doesn’t talk too much; people would rather talk about themselves. If you are a good listener, you will always have clients.