Barbershops of America by Rob Hammer

photo by Rob Hammer from “Barbershops of America”
photo by Rob Hammer from “Barbershops of America”

Barbershops of America is a photo book by Rob Hammer, a Los Angeles, California-based photographer and a new contributor to The New Yorker Life. In his book, Hammer offers a unique look into the world of traditional barbershops throughout all 50 states of America, and he does it masterfully. You can order a copy on his website or Amazon.


It occurred to me at a young age that barbershops were a special place. The sounds and smells alone can cause a feeling of nostalgia. Set them aside, and you are still left with so much more. They are a cornerstone of every community, a safe place to laugh with friends, and a beautiful piece of American culture. As I got older, it became apparent that the traditional barbershops I grew up loving were starting to disappear, which made me sad. So in 2012, I began a personal project photographing shops around Southern California to preserve a dying trade. Time went on, and my love for the project ballooned while more shops continued to close. Three years later, I had visited and documented barbershops in all 50 states. At that point, there was a shift in the industry. Barbering became cool. New shops were popping up on almost every corner. Most of them, in my opinion, was not worth a damn. Fortunately, though, some guys still believe in carrying on the old traditions while adding their modern twist. The contrast was beautiful and something I had to capture. So the project continued and still does to this day, 9+ years later. The result is “Barbershops of America – Then and Now” – a 180-page hardcover coffee table book filled with traditional and “next-generation” barbershops from all 50 states in the nation. Even though the book has already been published, my fascination continues. I still make cross-country road trips, and on everyone find myself at one point or another inside a barbershop, camera in hand. -Rob Hammer

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