There is something innately calming about walking into an old-time barber shop. Time seems to slow down and the distinct smell puts you at ease as you pick up an old magazine, have a seat, and wait your turn. I don’t think I have ever met an anxious barber. They all seem to have a Zen-like peace that instantly allows you to feel comfortable with them holding a straight razor to your neck. Swedish photographer Evan Pantiel recognized that the timeless atmosphere and profession would make for a great shoot and provide some good material for his portfolio and the shop’s social media.
I find being a barber is a timeless profession, and I thought it would be fun to do a reportage of the local shops.
A lot of the time I do not have the opportunity to work on my own projects, at my own pace. One of the “joys” of being a photographer on a project is dealing with art directors, project leaders, etc. all under restricted timelines. I wanted something that gave me free reign over the entire process without any stress.
During the summer, everyone in Sweden goes on holiday, which gave Evan some downtime to work on a personal project. He did some research and found Honest Al’s Barber Shop in Stockholm. The small shop and the barbers fit Evan’s style so they decided to team up. Prior to the shoot Evan created a storyboard of numerous shots that he wanted to create. He had a clear idea of what he wanted to produce.
I really wanted to show off the art of being a barber and document each step that they do subtly. The client was just looking for something awesome to use with their social media. I had free reign to let my creativity do its thing.
Honest Al’s shop is quite small and created some difficulties for Evan on set. The shop is on a side road so the only light that came into the shop was reflecting off of the building from across the street. That, coupled with the fact that Sweden isn’t exactly sunny, forced Evan to do what he could to coax as much natural light as possible into the shots. Carefully planning the times for the shoot helped him to get the light that was needed.
Evan was there for business, but had a great time while he was there.
Just hanging out with the staff was the best part. Everyone there was so laid back, and we just sat around all day and talked in between haircuts. Great people to be around.
The owner of the shop loved the images and plans to use the photos on the shop’s social media. Evan put the images into his portfolio and received another job from an ad agency from the project.
To view more of Evan’s work check out evanpantiel.com.