Laurent Muschel tropical hair

Laurent Muschel: Tropical Hair

In articles by Natalie Lynn Hyndman

We love this photo collection by French born, Belgium based photographer Laurent Muschel.
Tropical Hair is about a “hairdresser road trip” from Ethiopia to Ghana, from Gambia to Cuba focusing on 
“Tropic hair salons”.

“I have tried to show the beauty which appears everywhere despite the poverty and sometimes tragic human conditions…
The idea came when I was walking in the street of Conakry in Guinea. There is no garbage collecting systems and so when the quantity of waste is big enough, they burn it.
There is fire everywhere and among this, you find street hairdressers, cutting hair and shaving people in the middle of the street. Very surreal. So I decided to document the life of « hair salons » all over Africa and in Cuba but also in the black areas of Brussels (called Matonge) and Paris.

It is not always easy to get the acceptance of people to take pictures. They believe that you want to document their poverty and the bad stage of the hair salons while it is really not the purpose.
It takes time and a lot of explanations. Once, I didn’t find a willing customer to accept to be shot at so i asked my taxi driver if he wanted to have a haircut and I offered him one, a 50 cent cut in Banjul (Gambia).

I also took pictures in the North of Ethiopia at the border with Eritrea (Shire region) in a refugee camp where Eritrean girls are learning with the support of NGOs to become hairdresser. It is their escape route… In many African countries, it is easier to photograph men than women who are more reluctant, especially if Muslims given the importance of hiding the hairs in the religion.
Tal Ben-Shahar in his book « Short Cuts to Happiness: Life-Changing Lessons from My Barber » say that hairdressers beautify us not only on the outside but also on the inside…
To finance a part of the publishing cost I am running a crowdfunding campaign. Below is the link:
This will be my second book after the first one called Back to the Museum.
I will then exhibit the pictures in different galleries in Europe and hopefully beyond.”

More info about Laurent Muschel