Wednesday, December 23, 2009
In my travels, I discovered the apparent connectedness shared not only between client and hairstylist but also between all women in the salon, like here at Kathie's in Conroe Texas. In Dr. Joyce Nelson Patenaude's book, "Too Tired To Keep Running, Too Scared To Stop" she shares a story that was told to her by a friend, "In Africa, the women of the village would walk a mile to the river and back everyday to retrieve water. The women would carry heavy vessels on the heads to transport the water. On day, the Peace Corps came to this village. The first thing the workers did was to dig a well o relieve the women's burden of carrying heavy vessels over such a long distance. Everyone rejoiced. But soon the women ignored the well and began once more to walk the mile to the river. The fulfillment of their connectedness with one another is what the women needed and missed." The women needed to feel that connected and one way these ageless women do that is by going to the salon once a week, to make that connection, one that is not replaceable by anything else.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
This summer on the road, I had the privilege of traveling with my step-daughter, friend and talented videographer, Ruby. Here we are standing with Eunice at Gould's Salon in Memphis, TN. Eunice was one of the many amazing women we encountered on our journey. I told you a bit about her before, but there is so much more to tell. She has been in business for 54 years, starting as an assistant and working her way up to hairstylist and colorist. Her spirit will light you up and you will want to be in her presence for any reason, and her clients are loyal and committed to their relationship with her. One client even gave her their car when they were moving and Eunice receives many gifts. She gives many gifts as well, as her clients will tell you. Here's a woman who continues to do what she so loves when she could easily retire. This woman is a true inspiration.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
To start my travels off, I drove to Houston, where I photographed Hari who is the hairstylist for her mom, Lillian. They were so cute together and Lillian's warmth touched me in a way that was reminiscent of my own family...like getting a big hug from one of my great aunts at a Bar Mitzvah. Lillian has red hair and gets it styled in a current fashion. I loved her white mules and hip manner... Her husband, a war veteran, accompanies her to her weekly hair appointment. In her eighties, this woman is anything but old.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Gene is an 81 yr old hair-stylist at Gould's in Memphis, TN. He serenades his clients, as he does here serenading me, with his harmonica playing and keeps his recorded music close by as well as the jewelry he makes. He has worked here for 55 years. He adores his clients and it's obvious that they adore him too.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Venus reminds me of a soldier, a proud soldier...maybe it's the buttons on her shoulder and her posture. I wonder what it would be like if all women were this proud at her age, no self-consciousness...just right there....here I am. Such a fantastic role model.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I have never seen such camaraderie as I have at Sheila's in Brantley, Alabama. Madeleine brought flowers and later swept the floor, Suzie brought blueberries and Juanita folded hair towels while she was under the dryer. These "real" steel magnolias were so kind and they connected with each other and helped Sheila in her salon located at her house in this rural place in Alabama. Ruby and I followed directions that read like this, "right at church" "left at farm" - and somehow we found this wonderful house of amazing ladies.
Monday, November 16, 2009
A place for women to connect, to talk, to share joys, tragedies and everything from the color of paint for their house to how they are getting through the loss of their spouse. They count on seeing each other the same time every week and that's a good feeling...to spend time with "sisters" and shoot the breeze or tell a joke. In our generation now, we do our own hair mostly, and go to the salon periodically, not every week. I see my hairstylist about every 3 months and when I do, we talk and pick up where we left off...so I can imagine the intimacy shared by going once a week.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Eunice is 75 years old and has been a hairstylist in Memphis for 54 years at Gould's Salon. She has seen times and techniques change more than anybody I have interviewed. I don't doubt that someday she will have a book written about her life and I hope to be part of that process someday. She is a character, and I mean that in a loving way, a woman with character that consists of love and ethics and patience and faith. I can't wait to share the video footage of Eunice, but for now, I hope you can look into her eyes in this photo and see how immensely full they are of stories and experience.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Mrs. Guste lost a lot in Katrina, but in so many ways, she didn't lose a thing...not her humor, not her gratitude, not her steadfast belief that everything is borrowed and when it leaves, it's time to give it back. She did not let me take her photo while under the dryer, but when she was almost done getting her hair styled, and afterwards, wow...she was a natural model, she had so much pizazz and style!!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Elizabeth is a teacher who taught Sheila (her hair-stylist), Sheila's mom and Sheila's daughter. Three generations, one teacher...pretty amazing. Elizabeth's hair is like freshly fallen snow, soft, full and full of wonder. She is one of the "Southern Ladies" group in Alabama and a real Steel Magnolia.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Nancy, in her early 70's had shining blue eyes and white curly hair. She is dedicated to her day at the beauty parlor. She arrives at The Cut Salon in Santa Monica in a wheel chair, has her hair washed and then she returns to her wheelchair to have her hair styled. Isn't her smile fabulous?
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Vera is another of Kathie's clients in Conroe, Texas. She recently had surgery on her head and Kathie created a hair piece, dyed to match Vera's hair, that concealed the part of her head that was shaved. Look at her red hair...it doesn't get more beautiful than that. They have been through a lot together and the love and caring is so present.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
This is a typical work day for Sheila in Brantley, Alabama. Madeleine brings flowers, another client brings blueberries and Ms. Elizabeth , who is being helped from her chair taught 3 generations in Sheila's family. I felt like I was on the set of "Steel Magnolias" only this was real life and the women were not actors, but beautiful beings who connected here at Sheila's and talked about the pastor and church and recipes and weddings and ...life in the South.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Pearl, who reminded me of one of my great aunts, the kind you run into at Bar Mitzvahs, asked, "are you going to follow me to the bathroom and take pictures of my tuchas" (which is yiddish for - derrier - which is french for, well you get the picture). She definitely had chutzpah and I would bet that she brings her family much joy, happiness and a ton of laughter.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Carmen was at Holiday Salon in Santa Fe, getting ready for her 91st birthday. Sharp and elegant, she told us how she used to ride motorcycles with her husband. Carmen has been seeing her hairstylist, Linda, for 44 years. If you look at her face closely, you will see a life full of experience and knowing that we will only know, when we are her age.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Still working in her seventies, Blossom turned out to be a women who worked at my junior high about the time when I was there. She was impeccably dressed, as most of the women I photograph at their weekly ritual are. Not like me, who shows up in sweats and a t-shirt, looking like a shlub...but like Blossom, I have a great friend in my hairstylist too.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Jane, a mother, grandmother, avid tennis player and so much more, left this physical plane just last week. She was the reason I went to Conroe, Texas, to photograph her. She had the most amazing smile and hair as you can see....white-like feathers that surrounded her gorgeous face and eyes. I am grateful to have been able to give her family photographs of this beautiful woman. Kathy her hairstylist was so caring, I know she will feel the loss of her client and good friend.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Rose was the teacher of Mona, now her hairstylist and she said, "I always knew Mona was smart and had something special." They're joking and laughing was contagious. Mona's salon is called 'Mona Lisa' in Memphis, TN. Rose, now retired, gets her hair done after her swimming exercise in the morning. Such a pretty lady.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Gene Finney from Memphis, TN, in his seventies himself, is still a Don Juan with the ladies. Gladys asks Gene where he's been playing his harmonica - he's in a band and I was fortunate enough to get a first hand performance. His fingers are taped together because he has no feeling in one of them. Gene has been working with Gould's Salon for over 40 years, meeting and greeting his clients with kisses and hugs and coffee. When I asked Gene what his favorite part of his job was, he said, "Seeing the women smile when I'm done and feeling good about themselves...and the kisses!"
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Doris has been going to the beauty parlor for over 50 years. She used to have a bee hive hairstyle in the late sixties and a "fall" and "flip" in the seventies. She brings gifts to "the girls" at the salon and they are happy to see her when she walks in the door at Georgette's in Long Island, New York, where the hairstylists have the most beautiful, longest nails I've ever seen. She loves the ritual of getting her hair done. I should know, she's my mom!
Monday, October 12, 2009
The connection of women is so important. Remember, these women come from a time when women didn't work in careers all that much. Their time to connect was at the beauty parlor and today, these women, are still meeting and exchanging laughs and stories.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Bessita used to walk to her hair stylist's salon in Santa Monica, CA. Then her hairstylist, Lynn, moved to another salon about 15 miles away. Bessita now drives 15 -30 minutes to Brentwood to continue working with Lynn for over 30 years. That...is commitment.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
How many years do you think those rings have been on Ruth's hands. How many anniversaries, how many birthdays, how many losses, how many births? Those hands, that have held babies, pots and pans and other hands...and here she is taking care of those hands as they have taken care of so many and so much.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
What can I say about Mrs. M? She's amazing. Her green eyeshadow just happened to match the green rollers on her head. She is from Alabama and I photographed her at John Peri Salon in Marina Del Rey. Her stylist, Lori, told me that she doubts the technique for Mrs. M's hairstyle was still being taught. She teased her hair, combed it and the end result was elegant.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Jenny is the first woman I photographed at The Cut Salon in Santa Monica, CA. I was nervous and I wasn't sure how to approach my models, but I just asked and then suggested that she and everyone else go about the process naturally. At that time I was photographing for a whimsical project called, "A Day at the Beauty Parlor." I was so fortunate...Jenny was wearing all black and the wall behind her was orange. When it came time for her to sit under the dryer she struck poses in a way that I could only imagine Audrey Hepburn doing during a photo session. Jenny was gorgeous...hands graceful and the arch of her mouth matched the curve of the modern hair dryer.