On the razor's edge by Gilberto Chen





To be seen as different from others has always been a way to emphasize looking to break the established patterns. We are in a period where the search lies in the human exterior, the differences are at skin level, extremely long hair, passing through the colored tinted hair, with eventful haircuts or without combing their hair until arriving to the other extreme, hairless. Also tattoos very different from the ones the marines or prisoners carry or rings in various parts of their bodies, the nose, ears, belly bottons and many other places.

Hair was always made to protect, to primitive man it meant defending himself from the cold, the sun , the rain or from diseases. As evolution progressed, hair started falling off from the body and finally its been maintained on the head, around the sexual organs, it starts to be ornamental. Long hair becomes femenine while the short one is confused with masculinity. Until men let their hair grow, women carry it short, having to reach the extreme. Having to shave it all. It can be a search for transformation, a spiritual catharsis, generating change to come out of a depression, a challenge to one's vanity, or simply a fashion statement.

But there are people that go further than a fashion statement, generating changes, they bring a strong vibrant feeling that makes them different, like the Beatles, that broke many taboos with their music and rebellious acts.

Men and women that dare be different, interest me. A shaved head morbidly attracts my attention. I ask myself if the baldness might be due to a disease. The appearance is one of being healthy. I would like to know what is going inside while being compelled to make an image. I realize I have never been able to accomplish this very simple act, all one needs is a razor and soap, hard nonetheless.

I find they are not mad ( like the shaved ones from the psychiatric hospital), there are photographers, painters, performance artists, musicians and other creative characters, that try to face reality as a way to crystallize their restlessness.This series is because of them and for them.

Gilberto Chen

Gilberto Chen can be reached at: gilbertochen@hotmail.com