Black & White Photography & Men with Beards!
Grab a Camera
Why the urge to grab a camera every time I see a man with a beard walking down a street? Just seeing one is enough to give me camera shake! To either a male or female photographer, the man with a beard immediately becomes the face with character, the face which begs to be photographed. It seems to me that his face reflects all the signs of life, sorrow, hardship, warmth, laughter and infinite wisdom and all at once! His face begs us to reproduce an image which is like no other one we have ever taken before. The beard frames his face whilst at the same time it hints at his character. Is the beard neat, is it clean, is it unkempt, is it carefully styled or is there something which he is hiding from beneath all that hair! We look deep into his eyes, seeking out that precious element which we hope to find, that thing called character; this is what we hope will shine forth from the pages when we look back at our images.
That elusive thing, what is it?
Every photographer is looking for that elusive thing in a portrait, the one thing which is called character; this is perhaps one of the hardest things to find and this is the very thing which transforms a successful image into a stunning one, more especially one which has been taken in perfect light and better still, taken in Black and White!
Bucking the trend
The Wish List
When it comes to choosing a mate, a man with a beard has never been on the top of my wish list! The idea of a having to sit opposite a man with a large grey beard each day at the dinner table is not my idea of domestic bliss, neither is the idea of having to watch him as he eats a soft-boiled egg for breakfast or winds spaghetti into his mouth. I don't want to watch the stray bits which find their way into the long whiskers.
I love the idea of a clean shaven face rubbing up against my skin, so soft and smooth and at the same time I enjoy the smell of a great aftershave, so much more infinitely appealing to me! I have it in my mind, that the man who is prepared to wash and lather up for me on a daily basis is definitely someone who really cares a lot about himself and for me.
Black or White!
Now, being a black and white sort of person myself, I can’t quite fathom out yet why I should have these two opposing attitudes towards people who wear beards! On one hand I assume men with beards have character but figure that men with clean-shaven faces are partner material!
To my photographic brain, a man wearing a beard sends out all the right signals to me, no matter whether he is a man with stubble or sporting handlebars, has a white flowing beard or a grey tinged one. Add a few tattoos and a ring through an eyebrow or the nose and I know I am onto a winner. Add a little water and a few tears or some sweat and the image becomes even stronger.
One would have to get into a man’s head to understand what it is that makes a person grow a beard! Whether beards really show character and wisdom, I have not quite worked out yet. I do know that for some people, growing a beard is based on their religious beliefs so putting that aside, can I really assume that every person with a beard displays a strong personality or lots of character? Does a beard just show individual taste! Whether it shows that every person is wise or kind I can’t say. Every person sporting a beard seems to want to show himself up as an individual character. Perhaps this character thing is overrated and is just something I want to believe in. What really lies beneath the beard? Do people need to wear a beard in order to create some character, just like the actor who needs to fit into a certain role?
It Takes Courage to be Different!
I want to believe I will take that perfect image one day, that elusive winning Black and White portrait which will stun the world, the one with the man wearing a beard! I believe that it takes courage to be different and perhaps all those clean shaven men I have admired for so long, don’t have as much character as the ones with beards! Only time will tell.
© 2013 Sally Gulbrandsen