Shaving for Charity | spotlight on Homelessness in St Albans.

A few months ago I entered a competition #24in24 that involved taking 24 photographs of specific subject matter in a 24 hour period. We were handed a list of 24 words at 11am on a Saturday morning and had until 11am Sunday, the next day, to submitted fully edited images. It was great fun and delighted to say I won "Best Set of 24", something I'm pretty proud of! But mostly, it was a really enjoyable day when I met a whole lot of new people.

I wrote a blog post all about my day, and my photographic submissions, so if you want to have a look again, here's the link: 24in24 with St Albans Film Festival.

During that day, I met Keith, a larger than life character from Eat Wholefoods who had a stall at the Saturday market. He couldn't have been more helpful and more friendly to me and was fully aware of what the 24in24 competition was all about. As a thank you to him helping me, I asked him to pose so I could take his portrait. He was delighted with the image as was Jez at Eyes on St Albans who supplied his super Vava glasses.

Roll forward to now, nearly the end of October 2021, I learned that Keith was going to shave his beard off to raise funds for a homeless charity based in St Albans. If you have read my blogpost about the 24in24 competition day, you will know that I met Wes, a homeless guy who asked me to buy him some wet wipes. By the time I'd walked up to buy some at Superdrug, he'd already been moved on. There are many ways to deal with homelessness, but I don't think moving someone on is the answer. I've never seen Wes since. So knowing that Keith was working with homeless charity Hope House, I really wanted to offer my photographic services as well as spread the word about this fantastic new charity.

Sam Campagna, owner of Alternative Barbering offered to wet shave Keith's beard, so I went down to the barbershop early to take some photos of the salon and the team. What an fantastic salon it is - my first time in a barbershop and not at all what I was expecting! It was so cool and filled with iconic Japanese Takara Belmont hairdressing chairs, which I was surprised to learn started designing furniture in 1921! The guys were very friendly and just let me wander around photographing them in action.


At 12noon Keith arrived with his 20 strong entourage, friends and family there for moral support. He told me he hadn't had a fully naked face for 35 years!

Sam started with clippers to take the main part of the beard off, then set to giving him a wet shave and facial massage. After about half an hour it was all done. What an amazing difference!


Keith has now raised almost £2500 an incredible job well done!

I feel quite privileged to be part of such a day, so thank you for having me!

Emma x

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