I asked Portland photographer Nathaniel Young a few questions about his recent project Portland Beards.
What inspired you to shoot Portland Beards?
I was shooting a good friend of mine Wesley, and as the shoot progressed we began making jokes about his style and what he was wearing and how “Portland” it was. If you have never been to Portland, OR it is very known for being a laid back town in which people are free to believe and do whatever they like no matter how reserved or eccentric it may be. Later after the shoot I was going over the photos and realized that I should do an entire project on the beards of Portland since beards are so prevalent here.
How long did it take to find and shoot all the bearded men?
I shot my friend Wesley the last week of February and then shot a few other guys the first week of March. The bulk of the shooting took place at a small local Barber Shop called The Modern Man. I contacted them sometime during the first week of March and told them what I was wanting to do and they wanted to make a whole event out of it. So I just set up right there in the shop and shot 40+ bearded men from 10am-6pm. All the bearded men received their choice of whiskey or beer. It was quite the experience.
Out of all your Portland Beard photos which is your favorite?
I think this one is my personal favorite. I like it because he has such and honest expression and because it is so Steve Zissou.
What is it about Portland that attracts bearded men?
As I said earlier Portland is very well known for being eccentric. Dramatic styles and trends are hip here and beards happens to be one of them. I know quite a few people who have come to Portland and prior to them moving here were dormant in the facial hair department, but then the next thing you know they’re sporting a face full of hair. It’s just how it goes I guess ha!
Other than beards what do you enjoy shooting?
I am currently building my portfolio to pursue a career in commercial and advertising photography. I enjoy shooting people. People are genuine and people convey genuine emotion. I enjoy doing my best at capturing emotion and reality.
You can also see more of his work via these websites: