Inspired by the interview with Mat Marrash on the Moustache & Blade podcast (Episode 41) of January 5, 2015, I took an Instagram picture of the barber shop I loyally frequent, Vinny’s Barber Shop, during my January 15 haircut. I liked it so much, I decided to do a photo essay. I took the pictures before the shop opened as I didn’t want to interrupt the operation, and didn’t want to deal with release forms – this is Los Angeles after all. All the photos were taken with an iPhone 5 and editing was done in iPhoto. It’s funny that during that podcast interview, Ryan Steven Green compared smartphone photography to disposable multi-blade cartridge & canned goo shaving. Sadly, my digital 35mm camera is out of order. However, to enjoy expert barber shop photography, please visit Matt’s barber shop gallery at: http://matmarrash.com/.
Located at this unassuming location is Vinny’s Barber Shop, a traditional barber shop with young barbers who successfully combine the classic barbering traditions while still being contemporary. They are modest and humble in their ability to produce cool looks and attitudes, and are rewarded with a loyal following of customers that keeps the shop busy. Photo taken on March 3, 2015.
Interesting façade that was initially setup to house two separate businesses. The recent expansion of the barber shop on the right side has made this twin storefront seem like double vision. Photo taken on March 3, 2015.
Here’s my Instagram picture that inspired this photo essay. The clock on top indicates that it’s minutes before opening as the barbers prepare their stations for the day. Notice the ceiling beam displaying a variety of aftershaves. Photo taken on January 15, 2015.
Custom retrofitted bench from thoughtful friend, Isaiah at My Baby Jo, with cool artwork. Con Peine y Tijeras is Spanish for: With Comb and Scissors. The sign on the side “Walk-ins welcome sometimes” is a testament to their full days and how they will try their best to accommodate you. Photo taken on March 3, 2015.
“Don’t let the drug bug get U”. The cockroach dressed as a cholo dope dealer is a character created and painted by Alexis Ross. This Drug Bug has only been painted in 4 places and this is the latest painting. Along with water on the side, soda and beer are offered freely from the vintage vending machine. Drink a refreshment to stay cool! To ensure everyone gets along, there are simple guidelines to follow as indicated by the two signs on the windows on the right: Top sign: Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part; Bottom sign: Vinny’s Barber Shop / Free WiFi / No Religion / No Politics / No Food / No Phones During Service / Cash Only / New Shirts $20 / With a Haircut $15. Photo taken on March 3, 2015.
Products anyone? A cool assortment of face/beard/hair concoctions available for purchase. The french press and bean grinder attest to this shop’s dedication to classic approaches. Photo taken on March 3, 2015.
Cash Only. Get it? Mr. Cash’s grin is priceless. This pencil drawing from Guillermo Cuevas is one of several art pieces that adorn the barber shop. This is a cash only business – none of this paying payment processors more than 3% of your revenue for such a small amount and for a slim profit business. Nowadays, a barber needs to take care of 15 customers a day in order to make a reasonable living. Almost half of the customers get a beard/moustache trim/shave along with their haircut, and that percentage is increasing. The picture is angled in order to reduce the glare of the ceiling lights. Photo taken on March 3, 2015.
Omar Romero, Master barber and owner of Vinny’s Barber Shop on Virgil Ave. in Los Angeles. Listen to Episode 43 of the Moustache & Blade podcast where he talks about his career, Vinny’s Barber Shop, barber shop scents, and his thoughts on the resurgence of traditional barber shops. Photo taken on March 3, 2015.
Here I am at my paternal great uncle’s barber shop getting my first haircut when I was 3 years old in 1969. My great uncle, Normand Lévesque is 85 years old and retired. My proud mother is on the right and my father is the photographer, whom you can see in the reflection in the mirror. It’s an interesting coincidence I’m involved in barber shop photography again. Photo taken in Grand Falls, New Brunswick, CANADA, circa 1969.
Christian Lévesque is a French-Canadian New Brunswicker who’s been living in Los Angeles since 2008. He’s a stay-at-home dad to a charming five-year-old daughter, and works part-time managing various projects at an independent film production company. He loves preparing and eating food, laughing with standup comics, IPA “tasting”, and is a fanatic about traditional wet shaving.