LOWER YOUR EARS
Central to my work is an exploration in the significance of day to day rituals. Utilising portraiture and evoking the aesthetic of early documentary photography, I photographed the participants of the free haircutting sessions held at St. Mary’s House of Welcome, a non-profit Centre servicing the homeless and marginalized community of Fitzroy, Melbourne.
Since its inception photography has been used as a tool for classification and identification, attempting to coolly and objectively catalogue objects and events, often loaded with social and political undercurrents. A haircut is often seen as a marker of social, cultural and ethnic identity and in this case evokes questions of transformation from unkempt to kempt, from outsider to participatory citizen. Capturing portraits of the sitters before, during and after the event, I recorded each individual’s transformation in a straightforward way. This systematic documentation illuminated the odd kind of physical intimacy that is shared between strangers in a hairdresser’s chair.
By presenting the subjects wrapped in the barber’s apron, devoid of social indicators such as clothes or accessories I aim to strip the portraits back to their essential elements. The camera is unflinching, stationed at eye-level in place of the hairdresser’s mirror.
Georgia Metaxas is a Melbourne based freelance documentary photographer. She is an artist who exhibits frequently, and her interests and commissions combine to mean that she has photographed events, peoples and projects around Australia. Over the years Georgia has developed a large body of work that focuses on issues of identity and belonging and its connection to heritage and family history. Although these themes are still integral to her work, a recent shift has found her exploring a broader notion of ritual, examining the more universal aspects of life, like getting a haircut.
The documentary aspects of her work acknowledge her interest in the tension found between ‘artistic’ intent and documentary purpose. The subjects and methodology however evolve from encounters she has in her personal and professional life, often drawn to rituals both cultural and personal. Her work is held in both public & private collections. Lower your Ears, including a limited edition concertina artbook, was recently exhibited at the Monash Gallery of Art in Melbourne and the Queensland Centre for Photography.www.metaxasphotography.com.au