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The Chronicles of Follicles Photo Project

Art show Poster

A man’s face can grow it’s own art.  It is a canvas for which the owner can decide how he wants to present himself.  Obviously some men have more to work with than others (which can be a either a blessing or a curse).  Why grow facial hair? Why not? The associations and stereotypes that surround different style of facial hair is quite amazing, there generally is only a few degrees of difference between the iconic look of a Greek god and a homeless man, between an officer and a porn star, between a hippy and a confederate general.  Facial hair is more then just hair on the face, it says something about the man behind it, it’s a very personal choice.  In the Chronicles of Follicles series, we explore and play with those associations and iconic symbols in a surreal and fictional way.

The Chronicles of Follicles is a series of dramatically shot photographs of men with beards. Though there have been other similar projects in scope, we thought we’d put our own twist on the subject by way of concept, lighting, and story. Over the past year we sought out different men from different walks of life with different backgrounds and personalities, some of the guys we knew, others we heard about, and few we came across by chance. There were many guys that we wanted in our series but couldn’t pin them down or they didn’t want their portraits made.  I understand how it may sound to have a complete stranger ask to take a picture of your beard.

Over the years, we (Travis & Nate) have grown many different styles and combinations of beards, mustaches, sideburns, and goatees that even some of our friends have trouble recognizing us.  We also come from a film and literary background so we love images that represent strong characters and a good story.  And there are plenty of storylines that can be derived from a man wearing a beard.

The Cult Leader, Production Still

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One of the first subjects in our series was an Atlanta filmmaker named Ben Barak, whom we cast as “The Cult Leader”.  As the name suggest, it’s one of our more disturbing pieces but a favorite nonetheless. The image is loaded with powerful symbols but none so much as Ben himself sitting back in his chair for a quiet moment with “The Good book”. Another one of our favorites is “The Grill Master”, again shot early on in the series, long time friend Walker Howle of the band “Dead Confederate” posed for us as the master of flame & meat. Beards and fire always go well together provided they don’t touch.  Besides, what’s more “manly” then cooking meat on a fire?  Really, that’s primal. That being said, the point of our series is not to be self-indulgent or to stress how macho it is to have a beard (it may be a bit cheeky in that sense) but more an imaginative and fun way to look at the age-old appendage while representing both honor and disgust.

"Now, what do you want me to do?"

Wrapping up

Light test

We did include ourselves in the project with a bit of mixed feelings, but as some say in the art world, “if it makes you feel uncomfortable, you may be on the right track”.  One of the funniest things we went through was shooting Travis as Poseidon.  We woke up about 5 in the morning in St. George Island to capture a sunrise background. A small group of older men sat watching as we hauled the lighting equipment down to the beach (it was a little unnerving, but we felt no need to explain).  “What? You’ve never seen a man in a toga & holding a trident getting his picture made on the beach before?” Luckily beach patrol wasn’t called and we got the shot we needed.

Besides the beards, the effort we took to light each subject was important, and a big part of the continuity of the project. We wanted a very dramatic, surrealistic style that would suggest something more than just a portrait.  We needed a quality that conveys an amazing or ridiculous story. We carefully chose 14 pieces that we felt had this quality, images that we ourselves would like to know more about.

We certainly have enjoyed working on the Chronicles of Follicles and all the challenges that came with it and we hope you will join us at our opening.

The DornBrothers

Stunt Double Test Shoot

Light and Hair test

The Prisoner Shoot

Production Still

Production Still


Chronicles Beard Booth – Images by DornBrothers Productions

The Chronicles of Follicles, Poster

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5 Responses to “The Chronicles of Follicles Photo Project”

  1. A Dorn says:

    Hello Kelly!
    Thanks again, unfortunately this show will not be up in Atlanta again till October, at Mint Gallery. The Chronicles Chapter 2?
    We’re hoping to have the book done by then!

  2. Kelly says:

    The pics from the Photo-booth are great! Beard props = great time! I have some friends that missed the opening reception… any chance you guys will have a closing event?

  3. Cindy Slocum says:

    You guys are great!!!!I can’t cait to see the images from the party, I’m so sorry that I missed it:( I heard that it was a big success.

  4. Nate Dorn says:

    Thanks! We had a great turn out and a fun time!
    We’ll be posting the Photo-Booth images here later this week!

  5. Kelly says:

    Great show on Saturday night! I can’t wait to see the pictures from the photo booth… will you publish them here on the blog?

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