Practice assignment #1 — photographing an individual at work: Hairstylist

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Michèle at 19th Avenue Salon in Geneva is my stylist. What I have observed with Michèle I think is similar for other professional stylists, especially those who have dedicated much of their life to this work. The style itself is a form of art or a craft and each client is a long-term relationship. I often hear from my female friends of their relationship with their hairstylists, of their talks and of how many years they have been going to one particular person for their haircuts. I see this more and more from male friends as well.

To the stylist, each client matters uniquely and qualitatively. And, to the client, qualifications are not only important, but also the connection, or at a minimum to feel at ease to develop trust and communication.

I tried to capture the intimacy of the relationship between hairstylist and client in this set. Similarly, as with the first set of this assignment, we were required to shoot all manual exposure and manual focus,  no ISO  higher than 800 for indoors, all 50 mm and in black and white. I have not shot in manual mode for years. I am starting to prefer it for the control it offers, although far fewer pictures turn out overall and I am not very adept with it as of yet. In this set, I took about 250 shots in all over one hour during one client session, with perhaps 12 or so reasonably acceptable in the outcome. I am hoping to improve those odds as I practice. The next set will be of an art teacher and his class.

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