Saturday, April 4, 2009

Inspirations #8: George Tice, Barber Shops

George Tice has a special place in my photographic heart. Mr. Tice is also a New Jersey photographer at heart.

There is something about "Jersey"... either you love it or you hate it. I grew up in Orange, NJ until 4th grade, and then moved to Pompton Lakes, NJ in 5th grade. I hated Orange. I loved Pompton Lakes, and I still do. I lived in Jersey for 42 years, and to this day my closest friends are still Jersey boys... and practically all of the "girls I've loved before" are all Jersey girls (nod to Willie Nelson and Bruce Springsteen).

Photographically, New Jersey is anything and everything you want it to be. Early in my photographic career I found many things I was excited to photograph. But as the demands of life began to play a more pertinent role, photography took a back seat. After being away from Jersey now for a few years, and with my expanded photographic skills, and a sharpened eye, I wish I could go back for a while, just for photography, if nothing else. I may get my wish one day, as my daughter wishes to go to Art School back East for her college days.

My earliest recognition of a photographic New Jersey were a result of George Tice. After seeing his work in college, and later meeting him in person, and winning a second place award in the Photo Review Annual Photography Contest jurored by Mr. Tice, I began to see ordinary things in an extraordinary way. Working in Paterson, NJ (the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in America) presented me with many subjects to photograph, but never enough time to do so.

Upon moving to Arizona in 2005 and renewing my photographic ambitions, I had a chance to see new things again from a fresh perspective. In retrospect, I now see things that I had seen in Jersey but never photographed, and indeed, they may be gone forever back East, but there are still opportunities here in Arizona.

Barber Shop, George Tice

To tell you the truth, I was not aware of this particular photograph until after I made my Barber Shop image in Phoenix. I was aware of Joe's Barber Shop, Paterson, NJ, 1970, (below) by Mr. Tice, but that is an interior shot. It was only after researching Mr. Tice online that I discovered this image. I find it amazing how something can influence you to act, resulting in something almost identical to that which you have never seen.

However, after making my photograph and meeting the owner I have decided to go back and photograph the interior in action. David, the owner invited me inside after he saw me photographing outside one Sunday morning. It was like going back in time, to a barber shop museum in 1957. His grandfather was the original owner and there are many items that are from that time period. I will post those images when I make them.

Joe's Barber Shop, Paterson, NJ, 1970, George Tice

4008 (Bel View Barber Shop), Phoenix, AZ, 2007, Richard M. Coda

I have since made another image of "Dad's Barber Shop" on McDowell Rd., in Phoenix. My wish is to make an entire portfolio on barber shops as they, too, one day may become extinct.

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