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The Quiet Beauty Of The Barbershop Community

Photojournalist and videographer Brandon Tauszik has created detailed GIFs that document the work of black barbers in Oakland, California, and show the comings and goings of the local community.

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Brandon Tauszik has been studying the close-knit world of barbershops in the black community in Oakland, California, for over four years, capturing video footage of customers and barbers at work.

Through his observations, Tauszik found that the businesses are places of important social interaction, public forums that influence and shape male identity in the black community.

Tauszik created these subtly looping GIFs from his video footage as an alternative to traditional portrait photos.

“I visited the shops very sporadically, on weekends here and there," Tauszik told BuzzFeed. "It was just a process of enriching myself with as much information and opinion as possible, while simultaneously producing the work and then letting it all evolve over time.”

"Barbers stand at the heart of their shops. With repeated strokes, they move the clippers up and down, back and forth across a myriad of heads and chins every day. But this is not mundane, wage-labour service work; this is a craft with a rich history.

"Whether they own the shop or rent a chair, barbers work for themselves, establishing a level of economic security that countless African-Americans have been seeking since the end of slavery. Behind these portraits are the aspirations of men who are not just making a living, but who see the value of their labours in the development of black community life." – Brandon Tauszik

See a selection of Tauszik's graceful GIFs below, with quotes from the barbers featured in the portraits.

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"A cut is a cut, but the social aspect is almost more important than the hair. You never know what someone's going through in their life." – Charles

"Everybody comes to Oakland to get their haircut. It’s just a 'get it like you live'-type attitude, that’s the demeanour we carry out here." – Beanie Man

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"This is one of the necessities that's hands-on, you can't get no haircut on the internet. Here we call people by name." – Dave

"You get two or three generations coming in here sometimes. I just crack up how they come and say, 'Hey, you used to cut my hair when I was a little fellah!' I say, 'Yeah, maybe.'" – Kenneth

"When I moved to Oakland, I wanted to know who had the best reputation of serving in the black community. When I come here I learn about what's going on in the area, and I learn about who's doing what." – Don

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"You can come here in this motherfucker and be who you really are. Because out there in society, you can't be too black out there." – Yay

"Not trying to sound racist, but it's a different kind of art to cut black hair, you can't be one-dimensional. Out there in the suburbs, their clientele caters to a different type of haircut." – Truck

"We sometimes have to deal with a lot of negativity in Oakland: poverty, crime, violence. But I don't believe my shop has to be part of all that." – ATL


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