Cultivating a Cause
Posted on October 24, 2013
Beard season is in: becoming an ambassador in the fight against melanoma.
“I think you’re a thing,” my friend wrote after spotting the image on a blog called The Chive. “Did you do it?” she asked. “I wish,” was my reply. The meme was created by an enterprising lad from Oklahoma whom I’d never met before. He plucked my image from the Internet and wrote over the top in big bold type: If you shave your beard for a woman, you deserve neither.
The portrait was taken by celebrated photographer Brock Elbank, who had requested the sitting after he was told I had a beard worth pointing a lens at. Neither of us was credited in any way, though after more than 545,000 views and hundreds of comments in just matter of hours, people soon connected the dots and our respective websites surged with traffic.
Would a clean-shaven picture of me have hit such dizzying heights of Internet stardom? Probably not. This was a pure and organic collaboration between man, beard, camera and comedian, delivered to an audience who can’t look away, polarised by the rise and rise of the bearded man. No longer confined to hippy/biker/homeless/professional Santa Claus-impersonator types, facial follicles seem to be bristling onto every chin of society, from trilby-touting troubadours to hardline businessmen.