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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Deep Park by Bruce Polin

Deep Park by Bruce Polin

Deep Park is an ongoing series of chance portraits by Bruce Polin, a native of Brooklyn, New York. Bruce meets and photographs people in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, which he calls his outdoor studio, with his large-format 8×10 film camera. The results are pure, honest, and timeless portraits of a diverse group of New Yorkers who are the protagonists in what we call The New Yorker Life.

Photography is perfectly suited to depict, and enable, the transformative nature of people.

While, on the surface, the work may not appear all that political, this series of portraits — of random and seemingly disparate people — has been a very organic and physical reaction to the polarization that has enveloped this country since before the presidential election. It’s no coincidence that my need to leave the insularity of my studio and go out to connect with “strangers” began in earnest during the campaign that let up to November 2016.

Prospect Park is the optimal microcosm of New York’s profound diversity. My use of its natural assets as the backdrop somehow imparts additional political resonance, given that our public lands and environmental protections seem to be eroding by the minute, and climate change denial is now, incredibly, a governing principle. The park, designed in 1867 by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert B. Vaux, is a vast organism, fertile, with secret winding paths and infinite textures and sounds. There are many unique ‘neighborhoods’ within it. The park has become my studio in a way — one in which I don’t have much control, an aspect that can be frustrating but often liberating.

My use of these large outdated cameras for this project is very intentional. I wouldn’t be able to achieve the same thing with a small modern camera. With these big cameras, a lot of patience is required on both myself and the sitter. At some point, though, my subject becomes invested in the process, and it becomes more of a collaboration. They see that I’m building something, and I need their help. The process can effectively isolate us as if an invisible room takes form. And it all happens in a public space. I’m fascinated by how we construct very private spaces within public spaces. I look for people who might already be in that space, so I approach with care, trying hard not to break what they built.
I try to be aware of the transition.

Photography is perfectly suited to depict, and enable, the transformative nature of people. –Bruce Polin on “Deep Park”

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A Love Letter to Istanbul by Kemal Aktay

The Bosporus Strait runs north through Istanbul, separating Europe from Asia. Often synonymous with conflict, this strait has played a crucial role in the city’s history. Ferries, “Vapur” in Turkish, have crossed the waters of the Bosphorus for millennia, and mythology suggests that Jason and the Argonauts traveled it in their quest for the Golden Fleece.

Today, Vapur serves as a critical public transport connection for many thousands of commuters, tourists, and vehicles per day, but Vapur is more than just a form of transportation. For the Istanbulite, it is a magical vessel that travels through time and history, a private Tardis, if you will.

Each Vapur ride is a recurring dream that feels as magical as the first, even after a thousand times. It is not only a journey that takes you through the city’s incredible beauty or the historical landmarks that surround it but one to the inner self. It is where you fight your demons, get inspired, make important decisions, fall in love, worry about finances, or criticize the politicians.

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Kars and Cars by Engin Guneysu

Kars in Winter by Engin Guneysu

Engin Guneysu is a Turkish photographer with great talent and passion. He will contribute to The New Yorker Life regularly with his photo series from all over the world.

Kars is a province of Turkey, located in the northeastern part of the country. It shares part of its closed border with Armenia. It’s also the coldest region in the country.

-20°C(-4°F) is routine for months and it does not stop locals from going out and running errands. Other than snow and frozen roads, icicles hanging from rooftops are to watch for in the winter wonderland.

Extreme cold takes its toll on cars in Kars too. To prevent cracked windshields, burst pipes, and salt corrosion some people bundle up their cars like babies.

Engin Guneysu worked in the region for months. While documenting social issues for his book project, Kars and Cars turned into an unplanned mini-series of its own.

This was one of the coldest experiences I have ever had. Besides the bundled-up cars, I tried to reflect on the social and cultural life in Kars.

Enjoy these wonderful photographs from a unique part of the world.

Follow Engin Guneysu on Instagram.

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