Somerset House has been filled to the brim with beards over the last few weeks. A collection of over 80 photographic works by the photographer Brock Elbank has been on display for the enjoyment of beard-lovers and the alike.
The free exhibition featured famous facial hair of the likes of actor John Hurt, models Ricki Hall and Billy Huxley, but also distinctive characters such as British bearded woman Harnaam Kaur. She is diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition that causes excess hair growth, and has been growing a beard since the age of 16.
“I’ve worked on this current beard exhibition for 18 months,” Brock told us. “And now I’m approaching 12-20 A-list beards for my final piece of this puzzle.”
The photography project first began when Brock teamed up with Jimmy Niggles and his charity Beard Season in Australia, who were raising awareness about skin cancer. Jimmy had just lost a close friend to skin cancer, and in response he grew his beard and set up the charity to spread the word and share his friend’s story.
Brock began a pictures series called #Project60, where he photographed people with beards – each one an ambassador for Jimmy’s cause.
It has been well-received to say the least, and media outlets such as The Guardian, The Independent and Huffington Post have all given it great coverage. GQ even said the exhibit led to “beard envy” on their part (no arguing with that).
Head of Press at Somerset House, Stephanie Lilley, is more than happy with the turn-out. “It has certainly sparked the imagination of the media and has proved extremely popular with the public too,” she said.
Unfortunately, the exhibition ended just before we launched or website, but there might still be hope for all you beard-lovers out there. Brock revealed he has talked to other galleries that are potentially interested in putting up his photographs elsewhere.
This was confirmed by Lilley: “There are no formal plans at this stage to tour the exhibition, though the photographer has ambitions to take the work to the US and is reaching out to celebrities such as Jeff Bridges and Leonardo DiCaprio to add to the series. But it’s still very tentative.”
We will keep you posted on any news on that front.
Jimmy Niggles has found himself in a photo. Check him out on Instagram (if you haven’t already).