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Black & White Photography & Men with Beards!

Updated on December 10, 2017
sallybea profile image

Macro photography and the photographing the bugs and insects has been a love of mine since I first picked up a Digital SLR with a macro lens

Man with a beard
Man with a beard | Source

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

Street Photography
Street Photography | Source

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


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    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 5 months ago from Norfolk

      Thanks for the visit. You remind me that it is high time that I got back to some real photography again!

    • Oscarlites profile image

      Oscar Jones 5 months ago from South Alabama

      scoundrels, and hooligans, all of them! except one or two you know personally.. I thought this hub was interesting and I like the contrast of perceptions and character.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk


      Thank you very much.

      I don't have a Facebook page devoted to photography but I do have images on Flickr (sallybea) and also on my own photography site which is linked to my profile page here. I will look for you on Facebook however.

      Thank you again for your very kind comments.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wonderful pictures. You are so talented, Sally. Do you have a Facebook page for your photographs? If so, could you friend me....I'm on Facebook as Bill Holland in Olympia, Washington...thank you.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk


      A beard certainly does add some character to a man - whether one wants to live with a man with a beard or not. I appreciate your comment.

      Thank you,


    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk


      Not really a fetish but more a desire to make my photos more interesting by photographing people who appear to have character. Men are lucky to be able to hide any physical flaws with a beard whereas we women just have to bare all but at least we keep most of our hair on our heads!

      Thanks for your comment, it is nice to revisit one of my older hubs in this way.


    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

      A closet beard fetish, there? LOL

      Just kidding...I agree; there are so many reasons men may have beards, ranging from style to laziness, to inability to afford a razor.

      In my husband's case, it is to camouflage the mouth area because of his lack of teeth (long story--but due to cheap A$$ state dental coverage, he was robbed of his teeth instead of having them fixed). So yes, a person may be 'hiding' something, but not necessarily something in the way of a character flaw.

      Interesting article, and great photos.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      I love black and white photos--and beards--well, they say so much in their quiet way

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk


      You wear you age very well, especially for a man who has been the owner of a beard for nearly 30 years! I very much appreciate the visit and the compliment - thank you so much.


    • chef-de-jour profile image

      Andrew Spacey 4 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

      That first photograph of the old man in black and white is great, a stunning portrait. I can see the attraction of beards for a photographer as they change the shape of a man's face and entertain the light in different ways. A beard on a mature man can definitely enhance a phizzog and bring character and colour. I have to say that don't I, being the owner of a beard for nearly 30 years!

      I enjoyed this creative and informative hub, thank you.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

      old albion - I completely agree - dare to be different and get noticed I say. It is all about freedom of choice and being yourself - that is what everyone should aspire to be - themselves, no matter if that be with a beard or without one. Just a little tongue in cheek this one!

      Thanks for your comment

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi sallybea. I have had/worn a beard for 50 years, shaved off now and then. I think the reason men wear beards is as follows. They want to be a little bit different, it is not a deliberate ploy, it's just there. It's a way of saying that I am independent in thought, or would like to be. In the straight jacket of modern society it is the action of a free spirit trying to be free. Readers might find this to be fanciful but that's how it has been with me. Yes, people do notice a beard and sometimes it becomes a conversation piece. Some men do not suit a beard however, if that's the case he should not wear one. Well that's my view :-)


    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

      Denise Handlon - I appreciate your visit and your comments, thank you very much.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      A very interesting and informative hub. This will surely be useful to anyone wishing to learn more about the art of photography.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

      Thank you Maggie Bennett, Black and White Photography is one of those timeless things - very much back in vogue at present. There is something very beautiful and atmospheric about it. I appreciate your visit and also the vote.

    • Maggie Bennett profile image

      Maggie Bennett 4 years ago from New York

      Loved this piece. There is something about beards. I find some of them sexy and mysterious.

      Black and white always looks so crisp. I would love to see more black and white photography.

      Voted up and interesting!

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 5 years ago from Norfolk

      Darrylmdavis - yes it is wonderful, so keen to get out there and take some B & W photos of old abandoned buildings as well as men with beards!

      Thanks for your comment.

    • Darrylmdavis profile image

      Darrylmdavis 5 years ago from Brussels, Belgium

      Over time, B&W has become a real love of mine for a variety of subjects. It's so expressive...and fun :-)

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 5 years ago from Norfolk

      Hi Mark, strange but an interesting combo. What can I say, I just like photographing men with beards. Thanks for stopping by Mark

    • Mark Bronze profile image

      Mark Bronze 5 years ago

      Strange combo, beards and photography but it works well. Nice article!

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 5 years ago from Norfolk

      It worked perfectly thank you you Alastar

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Hope the explanation was okay, Sally. If not let me know, okay.:)

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 5 years ago from Norfolk

      Hi Alastar, thanks for the visit and also for the complement. I have to say that a beard certainly adds character to a face. Odd thing to say actually when we all know that it covers a face - smile. I have been wanting to ask you about the little avatar you have to your webpage, wish I knew how you did that.

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Sally I really like your style of writing. One might think with a title like Black and White Photography it might be a pedestrian wiki-like write. Not so here by a long shot. When I grew a beard about ten years ago it was found that certain ladies were really attracted to it, yet i also knew many couples where the wife preferred her hubby clean-shaven for the reasons you talk about. Anyway fine write and we can't say the fellows in the TV series Duck Dynasty are doing too badly by wearing long beards can we lol.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 5 years ago from Norfolk

      ianiott, No apologies needed, we all get our fingers tied up sometimes. I was just teasing you. Have a great day.

    • ianiott profile image

      Ian iott 5 years ago from Ohio

      Hi Sally! sorry for typing mistake you are right it is "beards". Thanks

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 5 years ago from Norfolk

      Hi ianott, I hope it is beards you like and not bears! Seems that photography goes through different phases and Black and White once again popular now. Nice because it seems so much more artistic to my eyes.. Glad you could stop by again. Thank you.

    • ianiott profile image

      Ian iott 5 years ago from Ohio

      Hi sally!

      Well i love bears also and i love black and white photography more much.I take many advantages from him for capturing photos..Well Such a nice post thanks again Sally!

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 5 years ago from Norfolk

      Hi Vicki, I love them, love the way the look and the character they seem to add to a face just like the feel of soft skin instead of bristle - definitely want every man except mine to have one because that will give me endless photo opportunities. All a bit of fun though, don't wish to alienate anyone, least of all any of my fellow writers. My apologies to anyone who I might have been offended.

    • profile image

      Vickiw 5 years ago

      Hi Sally, I suppose you either love them or can't stand them. I refuse to say what my preference is on this, because I'm sure there must be many Hubber friends who have facial hair, and I certainly don't wish to either encourage or alienate them. This ia a tough comment, as I know I am splitting hairs, but really I have nothing valuable to add. Good writing though, and may you move on to find your dream beard.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 5 years ago from Norfolk

      Hello MsDora, I love beards too, just perhaps not on my 'man' and I have at times sat across from one at the dining table. It was exactly as I described, little bits of food kept getting stuck in the whiskers! I think I will stick to photographing them, even with when they have food in the whiskers, the little bits might add to the image, so glad you stopped by and took time to comment.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 years ago from The Caribbean

      I love beards, both the touch and the image of it. I admit I've never sat across the dining table from one, but I think it will be okay. Hope I can see it in your winning portrait. All the best!


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