Hairy Scary

The idea for this image came in a flash.  Ella and I were sitting in the living room.  I was reading the Sunday New York Times and Ella was behind me, on the other side of the room brushing her hair with what could only be called extreme prejudice.  She was starting at the roots, with a big, prickly brush, and reversing the length of her hair in long, jerky strokes, punctuated with frequent grunts, sighs and what almost could be called growls.  After about 15 minutes of so near constant racket, all the grunting stopped and I looked up to see Ella staring in the mirror.  

Now we all have big hair in this family from my wife to the kids to even little old moi.  When we go to restaurants and are just about to order, the waitress will say, “My God, you guys have such amazing hair!”  When we go out shopping and Ester is trying on something and we’re all waiting around near the dressing room, one of the sales folks will walk by and say “Damn, I wish I had hair like that!”  When we’re getting on a connecting flight from London to Stockholm and we haven’t really slept in twenty or so hours, an overly cheerful flight attendant greet us as we board a shitty little commuter flight with “Well, goodness what lovely hair you all have!”

You get the point.  

Be that as it may I was ill prepared for how absolutely ginormous Ella’s hair had gotten.  All of that brushing had puffed and feathered and poofed it all out to the point that there were bits that, even under normal big hair conditions, should have gone straight down that seemed to be lunging-out directly to the sides in a gravity defying vector that I have truly never seen before.  Poor thing.  She looked miserable at first, this tiny toothpick of a child topped with a head of hair that looked ready to attack whatever came walking by for first for food, but then she just started laughing.  

And I started laughing too.  I grabbed my camera and made a few images of her.  Then I got the idea to lay on the ground and shoot upwards.  With all of that hair going everywhere I knew it would be perfect so I threw myself on the floor and pushed myself around on my back with my legs ‘till I found the sweet spot.  I loved the way that hair cut her off at the eyes and it was so long that it just gradually swept out of focus.  I made two more frames, all the while making jokes and laughing about that monster hair of hers.  When I was a kid one of my brother’s friends, who constantly cut his hair to a millimeters length, made stickers that said “Hairy Scary” and plastered them all over the place.  I hadn’t thought about those stickers in ages but as I was squirming around on the floor taking pictures of my daughter and her enormous frightening hair, I found those exact words coming out of my mouth and they elicited such a hysterical response from Ella that she started hic-up’ing uncontrollably which made me laugh so hard that I had tears in my eyes.

That was a good Sunday. 

“Hairy Scary” shot on my Leica M7 with the 35mm Cron on Kodak Tri-X 400 pushed to 800 at the Icon.    

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