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Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Beard @ Somerset House

If you're looking for something a bit more highbrow than Fifty Shades of Grey to lust after this March then perhaps Beard at Somerset House will fill the more acceptable void of popular culture porn. 

Fitting neatly into the Terrace Rooms at Somerset House Beard is just what you'd expect from a portrait photography show with the phenomena of beards as the central theme. There are of course the handsome bearded men like Gavin Turk and Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard thrilling many visitors. However the more unconventional beard is also celebrated with the beautiful British bearded woman Harnaam Kau who has been growing her facial since the age of sixteen due to her polycystic ovaries. 

The photographic prints are interesting and with pastel backgrounds they could almost look like paintings however I was disappointed that there was little information on the printing process and the visitor assistance knew not of it it either. 

The main drive to Mr Elbank’s project was Jimmy Niggles to familiar and incredibly handsome lead image of the campaign that leaked onto social media last year. Niggles a now prominent Australian charity campaigner grew his beard after the loss of a close friend to skin cancer. Niggles claims that he grew his beard with the aim of it becoming a conversation starter, using it as a platform to raise awareness of preventable diseases.  Inspiring photographer Elbank, this story prompted the #Project60 Campaign to raise awareness of Niggles’ Beard Season through social media and since Niggles has been the face much lusted after by beard-lovers. 

Social media is key to this show and its success. You are allowed to photograph the images and it does almost feel as if you have stepped into Elbank’s instagram feed. It is certainly a nicer way to view the portraits but for a show at Somerset House incredibly small and I left wanting to know so much more about the sitters, the photographic processes and the photographer. However, there are some great events on this week - it's last week!

Beard can be seen: 
Daily 10.00-18.00 (last entry 17.15)Terrace Rooms, South WingFree admission

Beards: Art Macabre Death Drawing Special
Wednesday, 25 March 2015, 19.00-21.00
Sketch bearded bare models with Art Macabre at a special themed life drawing salon. Inspired by Mr Elbank's exhibition Beard, draw your own stylish bearded portraits as we celebrate the cultural phenomena of the Beard.

Captain Fawcett’s Grooming Parlour Talk
Thursday 26 March 2015, 14.00-14.40
Courtyard Rooms, South Wing, FREE Limited places
If you have been inspired by Beard but are a tad unsure on how to keep your own facial foliage in tip top condition, then why not join us along with the much esteemed Captain Fawcett for an informal chinwag that may go some way to answering your questions whilst offering tips on how to maintain a stiff upper lip regardless. With a battle cry of ‘All hail the hirsute’, Fawcett is the kind of chap you’d want on your side if ever you (and/ or your beard for that matter) were found wanting in the face of a sticky wicket. The Captain will be dispensing his wisdom with characteristic style and panache on all things needful for the well-turned out gent about town. A fine range of Captain Fawcett’s First Class Gentlemen’s Grooming Requisites will be available in the Rizzoli shop throughout the exhibition.

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