Barbershops of America: Then & Now
A refreshing haircut, a close shave, followed by a gentle swish with the brush and facial pats with a fragrant after-shave cooling lotion, the customer emerges from the barbershop refreshingly reinvigorated. Professional photographer Rob Hammer has spent the past seven years crisscrossing the country photographing barbershops—some crumbling, others barely surviving, too many just getting by, and some that seem to be regenerating in this new age. Filled with colorful photographs of these unique businesses with their barber poles, majestic barber chairs, shelves filled with colorful concoctions, waiting rooms with wooden benches and/or plastic chairs, and the hair-littered floor debris—all of this is captured in these nostalgic photos. But people are part of this stage, his scenes depict the aging retiring barbers and also some of the newcomers. The reader can glance at the customers and remember how this business site once was the social center for the male community, it was the neighborhood gathering place for gossip, news, friendships, and revitalization. These amazing photos revive one’s nostalgia for what might think of as the good old days; however, what I missed seeing were the leeches for blood-letting that I used to peek at in our downstairs barbershop, the hot towels and face massages that were de rigueur post-shave, and the recollections of the tearful toddler’s first haircut as he transformed into a real boy. Unfortunately, no females enter this collection, though I do recall noting female barbers within barbershops over the past generation. Take a pleasant ride through nostalgia and social history via the history of the barbering profession in this scenic photographic journal.
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