We’re halfway through the week, and what better way than to make a run for Friday with the inspiring images of Jonathan Daniel Pryce.
A London based photographer with an eye for the suave and the dapper, Pryce has a great street style blog GarconJon that we follow religiously. And he was propelled to instant fame not so long ago with his 100 Beards, 100 Days project. This project which began on 1 July 2012 as an ode to the beard, or what Pryce considers ‘the ultimate accessory for the modern gentleman’, first started with him photographing Londoners. And well over a year and several cities later, every image Pryce has featured so far is an ode, if not a rhapsody.
Here’s Pryce on style, London and beards –
You first began capturing street style in Glasgow before moving to London? How do the two cities differ in terms of style and attitudes to being photographed?
Glasgow is much smaller so there are trends which happen in a world of it’s own. It’s got a large student population so generally spending on clothing is lower – meaning there’s a lot of vintage and high street. The city also has an amazing music scene so you can seen this bleed into the art and fashion world.
London is hugely international meaning there’s a lot of money in the city to spend on luxury. Generally speaking, Londoners are overstimulated so they can be a little ambivalent to being photographed.
What was the initial reception like to 100 Beards, 100 Days? And what did you initially hope to achieve by the end of the first 100 days?
There was a huge reaction very quickly. Within 4 weeks I was inundated with tweets asking to be photographed and many of the bearded men I stopped on the street had already seen the blog. By the end of the 100 days my main goal was to have a strong body of work which could at some point to exhibited. It turned into 4 exhibitions and 2 editions of a book. The second is on it’s way now!
You grew a beard during the project. How did this influence your perception of beards and of yourself?
The cultural perception of the beard was changing as I was photographing which was interesting. The whole ‘Ben Affleck has a beard at the Oscars’ thing happened just at the end of the 100 days and there was a lot of other press around facial hair. I enjoyed growing a beard but I felt it didn’t really suit me so it doesn’t go longer than stubble now.
Could you share some of the responses you’ve had from men to the project?
There were so many funny stories Many of the men had their beards touched by strangers of both genders on a regular basis. One man was paid a substantial sum to shave his off and take photos of it growing back. There’s a real cult around the beard.
How do you keep the momentum going beard after beard? And how do you stay inspired?
When I was in the midst of the 100 days, it seemed to be growing a life of it’s own. The buzz was out of my hands. Now I continue to take photos for the next edition but at a slower pace so it’s not as ‘talked about’ but it still is in the London consciousness. I do love a good beard, but my inspiration is diminishing. After this next edition of the book, I think I’ll stop.
You’ve already crossed Beard No. 151 and your audience can’t seem to get enough. Where do you see this project going in the future?
I think I’ll get to 200, get the next edition of the book out and then maybe integrate it with my men’s style blog GarconJon.com.
Social media has played an important role in popularising 100 Beards, 100 Days. How do the publications help you further this reach?
It’s true – Twitter and Facebook were key. I had planned to sell the book in stores which would’ve spread the word more, but it sold out online before I could. With the next edition I plan for getting it in many of the independents which will be an interesting experience.
What’s the single most important lesson you’ve learned through your work as a street photographer?
Never judge a potential photograph before you’ve taken the shot.
Other street photographers you admire for their work or for their style….
Thanks Jonathan! We can’t wait to get our hands on the next edition of 100 Beards, 100 Days.