"I don’t usually do so many smiling pictures," said street-style photographer Scott Schuman (he of Sartorialist fame), surveying his new exhibit in the Danziger Gallery on 23rd Street. "I usually like them to be more serious — but maybe I’m in a good mood or something." He has good reason to be, as brands like the Art of Shaving will pay him handsomely to collaborate on things like this show, a photo series of men with varying degrees of facial hair. He took all the portraits in New York's Chelsea neighborhood, in keeping with the brand's latest "Chelsea" shaving collection. The razors and brushes were also on view in glass cases, like tiny metal sculptures.
Schuman himself was clean-shaven and dressed in a black tie, gray jacket, and white pocket square. He politely greeted several of his photo subjects, who looked both pleased and rather bashful to have their faces hanging on the walls. "For each picture, I tried to get something a little different," explained Schuman. "But it's actually difficult to find diverse facial hair right now, particularly among stylish guys." We caught up with him about facial hair trends and the dearth of well-dressed men.
What kind of facial hair is trendy these days?
I really tried to get a good cross section of different kinds of facial hair. But right now, it’s really hard to find good-looking young guys with a little bit of style that don’t have big beards. And it’s hard to find guys with just mustaches. A lot of guys are doing beard and mustache, but it’s hard to find a guy with just a mustache. Or even a goatee. Goatees used to be so popular, and now it’s really hard to find a guy who has one. It's all about these big beards.
Why do you think it’s hard to find stylish guys without facial hair?
Because it’s hard to find stylish guys in general. It’s reasonably easy to find beautiful, stylish girls in a lot of places. But guys, it’s so much different. There’s so many other elements [for men] — you just have to put yourself out there, and it’s hard for men to do that, for whatever reason.
What do you look for in male subjects?
They can’t be too arrogant, but they have to have a little confidence. They have to have some quality that makes you want to look at them. And in this case, they had to have some kind of grooming thing going on. Most of these I shot when I was just out doing my regular stuff, but I had this project in the back of my mind.
I’ve noticed that you shoot a lot of men with facial hair for your blog. Is that just coincidental?
Totally coincidental. It’s just a trend we’re going through right now. If you went back to the seventies, it would be the same thing. It’s just what’s happening. And it’s not one of those things that create a “problem.” Like, glasses create a problem. Too many guys are wearing glasses, and when they turn, it makes their head look bigger, or the light’s reflecting. Really short hair creates a problem, because their ears look red when the sun’s behind them. Facial hair is not that kind of problem, from a photography standpoint.
Now that you’re well known, does it make a difference when you’re out shooting?
The only difference it makes is if they know who I am, they maybe give me a little bit more time. When they didn’t know, it was like, "Oh, yeah, hurry up." But if they know who I am, they’ll be like, "Okay! You want me to walk over here? Sure!" So it just buys me a little bit more time. But then, the hard part is to get them to be calm, because they get excited. So you’ve got to talk to them for a little while. It becomes about the quality of the expression. That flattered, a little bit embarrassed look can actually be very charming. But you have to shoot it just right. You have to be ready for it, and read the person, so you can time it correctly.
See his portraits in our slideshow.BEGIN SLIDESHOW
Most Viewed Stories
Mary-Kate Olsen Strains Every Muscle in Her Face in an Attempt to Smile
The Fashion Executive Who Doesn’t Wear Underwear on Dates
25 Famous Women on Being Alone
22 Intimate Lost Photos of Marilyn Monroe
Prince George Has No Time for Justin Trudeau’s High Fives
How Angelina Jolie Won the First Big Battle in Her Divorce
It’s Time to Get Over Your White Feelings and Start Taking Action for Black Lives
2009 Called — It Wants Its Vogue-Versus-Bloggers Fight Back.
Former Miss Universe Becomes U.S. Citizen So She Can Vote Against Trump
Madame Clairevoyant: Horoscopes for the Week of September 26
From Our Partners
Who What Wear
powered by PubExchange
The Cut’s Latest Fashion FeaturesCiara's Wedding Dress Was Too Big for the Chapel
To be fair, it was a 13 foot-long dress.You and Rihanna Will Both Want to Invest in Dior’s New Bag
It's got something for everyone.Polo Shirts Have Turned Their Back on Ryan Lochte
Along with his other major sponsors.Ryan Lochte Will No Longer Be Paid to Wear Tiny Bathing Suits
Speedo remains committed to transparency.Laura Brown Is the New Editor-in-Chief of InStyle
After 11 years at Harper’s Bazaar.Tyra Banks Is Going to Teach a Class on Smizing at Stanford
"If I see somebody not paying attention, I’m gonna call on them."This Floating Pier Is the Most Zen Installation Ever
Walking on water in Italy.Nation Is Appalled by Matt Lauer’s Nude Ankles During Ryan Lochte Interview
What’s the opposite of “Jeah”?8 People at the Life of Pablo Pop-up Explain Why Kanye West Is a God
"I mean, Kanye West is just Kanye West. There's not more or less you can say about Kanye West. He's just Mr. West!"A T-shirt Is Enough
Simplicity, versatility, and cool. What more could you want?
She took a perfect pencil dive off a 30-foot yacht.American Apparel Is Being Sued by Former Workers
As the company considers putting itself up for sale.A Gendered History of the Tailored Suit
From Marlon Brando to Coco Chanel.How Zendaya Developed Such Great Style at the Young Age of 19
The star's best looks from Disney to now.Proof That If You’re Chic Enough, a Little Federal Investigation Doesn’t Matter
Is this the best they could do?5,300-Year-Old Mummified Iceman Probably Would’ve Been a Street-Style Star
He had several different looks and was “pretty picky.”J.Crew Has Identified 226 Shades of Pink
Even more than there are shades of gray.Gigi and Bella Hadid Merch Is Now Somehow a Thing That Is Happening
Today in Hadidiana.Gird Your Loins for the Return of Yeezy to New York Fashion Week
The season approaches.This Indie Brand Had a Great Response to Ivanka Trump
When she bought one of their cuffs, they donated the proceeds to the Clinton campaign.