I might as well clear this up form the start. I honestly had no idea how I was able to control my ovaries during this whole exhibition. My gawd.
Beards. The stubbly tufts of hair that grow around a guy's chin (or chins, for some. There is no shame in having primary, secondary and tertiary chins) have seen a ridiculous upsurge in popularity in recent years. Even Robert Pattinson disastrously attempted to grow a beard, heck, even I attempted to grow a beard. To say the least, it ended as bad as the ending to Twilight: New Moon, Part 2.
On its final day, I attended the BEARD exhibition at the Somerset House, The scent of Lush's Strawberry Beard Wash gently floated around the air, with the Terrace Hall being crammed with hipsters far and wide. I've never seen so may circular glasses in my life before.
Captured by the photographer Mr. Elbank, the exhibition aims to highlight how beards have grown into something more than a simple blase fashion statement, but into a subtle form of liberation. Living in a bizarre age of emasculation, beards have become a simultaneous commodity of both a rejection and embracing of modernity.
Following a close friend of Jimmy Niggles' from cancer, the Australian campaigner took to growing a beard for charity. This began Mr. Elbank's #Project60. Capturing a series of dusky portraits, the lighting harsh and skin rough of the males' faces. Every beard has with it a story, with the groomed art-piece being donned by not just the lumberjack bloke, but drag queens and farmers, models to voices of cartoon characters. In other words, every man in the world appears capable of growing a beard, sans for me. Honestly, when will the struggle of my life end?
As someone who has struggled with the idea of masculinity in the past, it was inspiring to see the different facets of the bearded man be opened to the public in such a way. Many social commentators believed the beard trend to be a mere fickle fad, yet the retro gentleman is now a thing of the familiar.
No one really knows why the beard has gathered momentum faster than Amanda Byne's sanity dropped. Maybe it's a reaction to the smooth metrosexual, a silent plea to return to the masculine routes of man?
Whatever the answer is, I couldn't complain less.
But someone should really hire Robert Pattinson a groomer...