Sometimes when unexpected things combine, in this case a barber shop in Newport, a first year documentary photography student from Germany and the same fringe (excluding the bald guy) unusual things sometimes happen. The unusual thing in this case is a project called Clear Cut by Christoph Soeder who produced a small ‘accordion’ book of portraits of men going to the same barber shop, getting what looks like the same haircut.
At first the images cause little confusion due to the seemingly banal subject, then the deviations starts to appear. The unusual lively red background sitting above the zebra patterned protection gown, combine to create a vividly natural and surprising combination.
What was once seemingly familiar event becomes extraordinary in its ability to allow us an alternative vantage on a taken for granted pattern.
The slight tilt of head juxtaposed with the uncomfortable straight fringe can only belong to a young man exuding a form of confidence that has no place in reality while the anonymous background confirms the exaggerated unfamiliarity. Haircuts like all fashion give us the option to make a choice and, whether we like it or not, we choose to belong.
Regardless of what the media tells us, the most amazing thing about fashion isn’t the creativity or the new designers from the London colleges creating new collections, it’s the photography created while a particular fashion is happening. The photograph shows us a snapshot of history, to place a time or event due to the length of hair and/or sideburns, whether we think of family members or ourselves as fashionable the photograph showing the ridiculous fringe says more about our belonging to a particular group and time than we can ever feel comfortable admitting. I can guess all I want about the men in the photographs but nothing will tell me more about them than what time has to say.
A limited number of the book Clear Cut by Christoph Soeder is sold via the photographers website
Christoph Soeder was born 1989 in Avranches/France and grew up in Germany. In 2012 Christoph obtained the 2nd award ‘Close Up! – Young photojournalists at the 62nd Berlinale’ and exhibited his work together with other participants of the programme at C/O Berlin. In 2013 his book ‘Clear-Cut’ was shortlisted for the Unseen Dummy Award and exhibited at the Unseen Photo Fair in Amsterdam. Christoph studied photography for one year at the Berlin Ostkreuz School of Photography and is currently studying Documentary Photography at the University of South Wales, Newport.