Interesting Business Portraits?!

When I saw this series I got incredibly excited.  Photo-nerdy excited.  It changed my view of business portraits, and anything that is a paradigm shifter is AWESOME in my book.  I love this work. Take a look!

It almost sounds like the opening line to a joke: A young black woman takes a bunch of middle-aged white women who she doesn’t know in Woodstock, N.Y., to a black salon, gives them a new “black” hairdo, and then takes their portrait.

Although photographer Endia Beal laughs freely while discussing “Can I Touch It?” the point of the series that she worked on this summer during a five-week residency with the Center for Photography at Woodstock isn’t about getting laughs.

The rules were simple: After getting their new styles, the women had to agree to be photographed in a traditional corporate portrait, even if they weren’t happy with the result.

Beal decided not to give the women an option of choosing a style. “I said, ‘I am going to give you a black hairstyle,’ and they were like, ‘You’re going to give me cornrows?’ ” Beal recalled of her conversations with her subjects. “And I said, ‘No, we’re going to do finger waves.’ ‘Finger waves? What’s that? You mean from the ’20s?’ And I said, ‘These are a little bit different type of finger waves!’

Beal specifically chose women who were at least in their 40s, but she tried mostly for baby boomers. “I wanted people that had a certain idea of what you’re supposed to look like in the workspace, because it would be a challenge for them to understand what I experienced in that space,” she said. “And to a degree, many young white women have shared that experience, but for older white women it’s an experience they haven’t necessarily had.”

Although the project has a quirky sense of humor, Beal is an artist looking to open a dialogue among people of different gender, race, and generations about the ways in which we express ourselves, specifically in a corporate environment.

Her website, http://endiabeal.com/, is under construction until November, but until then you can see a few more of her images and the rest of this article by David Rosenberg HERE.

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