Bearded Beauties at Somerset House

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By Sara O’Brien

It has been easy to notice the recent build up of the beard sensation. The deemed hipster trademark migrates through many different spectrums, cultures, and Instagram posts.
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Mr. Elbank’s celebration of the beard triumphs over said trademark with Beard in the Terrace Rooms of London’s Somerset House. The capturing of these bearded beauties can hardly be demoted to the ranks of a hipster fad overglaze. Beard offers an interesting angle behind the facial hair as it was begun in order to raise awareness for skin cancer. Elbank’s lens captures beards through an array of quirky and beautifully different people crossing many borders.The purpose behind Beard shows a connection between photographer Brock Elbank and Jimmy Niggles, an Australian charity campaigner for ‘Beard Season’. Using the tag #Project60, Elbank shared his bearded collection, flooding social media and succeeding in an engagement with a worldwide audience.The collection grew as applications from across the world were sent in from people eager to participate.

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While viewing the exhibition, I was almost drawn as much to the eyes of the photographed people as I was to their facial hair, especially those on the larger canvases. Every detail seemed emphasised and my own eyes were caught mesmerised. The difference in people gave off a feeling of unity between beards. Beard is quirky and unexpected, drawing in a range of viewers almost as wide as the photographed subjects. Most significantly, it holds meaning.  Beyond borders and through charity it acts as something that connects a world of bearded individuals. Their differences hung on the walls fuel a stronger connection between their similarities, as they are all bound beneath Elbank and Niggles’ creative, charitable objective.

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The exhibition is free and I strongly recommend taking a look before it finishes.

Beard is on until March 29th 2015 in the Terrace Rooms,
South Wing, Somerset House, South Wing, Somerset House,
Strand, London WC2R 1LA