The image shown above was made in Belfast around Shaftesbury Square as I was heading towards the University Quarter. I like barber shops, as a contrast to the hair salons that lack the texture and look of the barber shops. I saw the head of a man, apparently waiting for his turn—but with a mainly bald head and a short fringe around it. With tight cropping to retain the elements of the barber shop to fix its identity, and close enough to show the head but leaving in the small reflection to draw the eye. The point of the photo is to capture a whimsical moment—a man in a barber shop—and I converted it to a black and white image for effect. Black and white enabled me to focus on the man and his head contrasting with the barbershop. Color would have been too distracting.
These details and moments of life are what capture the essence of the city. It is easy to get overwhelmed when you have limited time to photograph a new place. I’d been to Belfast before and was on my way to cover an area I’d given short shrift to previously. You need to be aware, though, of what is around and fortuitous, and not be a prisoner of the map and the “must see” designations.