We got the chance to speak to the engineer turned photographer Markus Bacher. We spoke beard, career swap and all of the bearded men he loves to photograph.
So being a bearded man yourself, do you have any top tips for others out there? Do you use any products or do you prefer to go without?
I’ve had a full beard since I was 18, so I guess I’ve had it for more than 10 years! It’s sometimes longer, sometimes shorter- depends on my mood! I don’t actually use any products, and it’s quite a thick beard so the only thing I’ll do is shape the contours and crop it was a razor.
Actually, I don’t know what I’d look like without it! A teenager, no doubt!
Looking though your portfolio, you have some great shots of bearded wonders, such as Martin Meister, Ronni Appler and Kevin Tossman. What do you enjoy about photographing bearded men? Does it make your job any easier or harder?
I like people how they are. Of course, body hygiene is important but nobody has to change himself to look like some trend that’s cool right now! So, if someone wants to grow a beard, do it!
Everybody who knows a bearded man knows how different he can look both with and without it. Both can be interesting to photograph bu I think they give men a kind of interesting characteristic touch. I like that very much.
Do you find you’re seeing more bearded models coming through at the moment?
There was definitely a trend int he last few years for bearded men, but not really so much in Austria! The ones we do have however are very successful. Lately we’ve seen lots of commercials, advertising and magazines using bearded models, so yes, I do think there are more coming through.
Do you think the beard trend is here to stay?
Like all trends, I think it will wane and decrease, but I don’t think it ill. At least not for the next few years anyway. It seems society re-integrated it (again)! When I started growing my beard, and by the time it was all grown out, it was really only the other men in Austria had one. The younger generation were all shaved. I don’t know how it is in England- I guess you started the trend way before we did!
Do you have any favourite bearded men?
I like Alex Clare, Gregory Porter and Max Herre very much. All of them look very cool when they have a beard on the go. It would be a dream in the future to photograph them! From the Beard Models, Billy Huxley. Very cool man!
Tell us the tale from how you went from technical engineer to photographer! That’s a bit of a change!
I was on a surf trip to Portugal years ago and met Njazi Nivokazi, a professional photographer from Zurich, Switzerland. We instantly became friends and he taught me some photography techniques. it was just a hobby to start with, but in time it became more of a passion. He introduced me to his circle of photographers and friends in Zurich, like Andres Herren and Michael Rohner.
All of them are great photographers with personalities to match. With the knowledge they gave me,I realised this is something I wanted to do. I began taking portraits of people and when you know you’re improving, you want to do it more and more. Now portrait photography is a big part of me and it continues to fascinate me all the time. I’m still in the process of pushing myself and learning as much as I can.
The photographers from Switzerland are my best critics, and I appreciate their opinions and pushing me to better my craft.
What’s your favourite thing to photograph?
Characteristic portraits are definitely the best part for me. The people have so many stories to tell, only with just their appearance, and everyone sees something different. I find that fascinating. The best (and hardest) part is working with the person I’m photographing to make something new. But I prefer shooting with men – it’s a lot easier!
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