The Mane Subject: A Book of Beards

Justin James Muir
Justin James Muir
Brian Quein, Charlotte, N.C.

When Justin James Muir moved to West Chester, Pa. a little over two years ago, he found himself in a hairy situation—the beards per capita ratio seemed unusually high. The phenomenon puzzled Muir, so as he settled into life in his new home, the art director did what came naturally: he began photographing the beards of his new friends. And then he photographed the bearded friends of these friends. And then the friends of their friends found their way in front of Muir’s lens too. Pretty soon, he had enough portraits to publish a book.

A Book of Beards, published earlier this month, features 125 pages of whiskered men, photographed by Muir at beard competitions, dive bars and off-the-beaten-path hideaways across the East Coast.

“I would literally look for beards everywhere I went. I would meet someone on the street and try to set up a time to shoot them or have them come to me,” Muir told TIME. He even had cards that he would give to the the well-bearded men he would encounter.

“There was no real criteria,” he explained. “It just had to be a big beard and look cool. You don’t see people like this every day—a lot of them are kinda tucked away in nooks that most people will never go to.”

Publishing A Book of Beards himself, Muir decided that all proceeds from the first press run would help Mike Cummings, a bearded friend suffering from testicular cancer without health insurance. Mike, featured on the cover of the book, also contributed a short written vignette in the book, one of 18 pieces sprinkled throughout the portraits. Muir plans to donate the funds from subsequent press runs to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

For more information about A Book of Beards or to purchase a copy, visit BookofBeards.com.

Related Topics: , , , , ,

Latest Posts

The Sponge Bob Squarepants float makes its way down 6th Ave during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York

The Best Pictures of the Week: Nov. 21 – Nov. 28

From violent protests over the Ferguson shooting verdict and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s sudden resignation to the dismantling of India’s first aircraft carrier and Lionel Messi’s new goals record, TIME presents the best pictures of the week.

Read More
grid

TIME Picks the Best Photobooks of 2014

Al Khumaini Msallam Qudiah is seen exiting his rubbled home in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, on Nov. 1st 2014.Al Khumaini and his sons live in the rubbled home, while his wife and daughters live with their relatives. His farmland was bulldozed by Israeli army. He began building new farm, with the bricks and material from his rubbled home.

Photojournalism Daily: Nov. 28, 2014

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 19,455 other followers