Movember in India: Daily Inspiration from the Mecca of Mustache

The minute we arrived in India, I was immediately inspired to take photos of the local men… quite simply because they have killer mustaches. And I’m not talking ironic-hipster-chic mustaches from Brooklyn or Portland here. I’m talking centuries-old OG-status mustaches in styles you’d never even dare attempt. In styles you’ve never imagined. In styles you never even thought possible.

But as I started taking the portraits, I also realized just how strong and bold the men’s faces were — far from camera shy, each man’s pose was a confident articulation of not only their awesome ‘stache, but also their unique personality. And so, my intrigue grew and grew and grew as I began to take more and more and more portraits, obsessing over finding the best, most diverse, and confident facial hair in all of India.

A lofty task, but one I was willing to taken on.

So without further adieu, and as a nod to all you Movember participants (a challenge amongst bros to grow a mustache for men’s health), here’s some inspiration for your next shave:

shk_20161031_india-agra_4054

Security officer at the Taj Mahal

shk_20161022_india-jaipur_1491

The famous Rajasthani curled ‘stache

shk_20160830_india-alleppey_1235

shk_20161103_india-varanasi_5224

“I like your mustache, sir. May I take your photograph?” That was my line. Men in India are very proud of their mustaches, and they would often perk up for a portrait. This gentleman was no exception.

shk_20161106_india-varanasi_5611

When I asked for his portrait, this man first laughed then straighten up, posing like a total boss

shk_20161021_india-jaipur_1369

shk_20161026_india-udaipur_2148

This gentleman was delighted to have his portrait taken. For Westerners, having our photo taken is a daily occurrence (often multiple times a day.) For the older generations in a place like India, it’s a rare occurrence. They may only have one or two photos of themselves or their family in their home. Many people (this man included) thanked me for the experience. 13 – This gentleman was definitely a bit crazy, but even crazy can make a great picture.

shk_20161108_india-varanasi_5850

shk_20161105_india-varanasi_5448

I followed this gentleman down the narrow street hoping to get his portrait. When he sat down for a chai, I kindly asked. He was a bit leery at first, but then warmed up and allowed me to take his picture. His expression says it all.

shk_20161108_india-varanasi_5830

shk_20161102_india-varanasi_5163

I try to capture the dignity within each subject when taking a portrait. I like to have an interaction that is meaningful for both us, however short it may be. I think this translates to more meaningful photography. It’s also diplomatic, it can determine their impression of foreigners.

shk_20161101_india-agra_4098

Namaste from Agra

shk_20161103_india-varanasi_5215

Police officers in India have some of the best mustaches. In fact, certain precincts give raises to these gentlemen because a great ‘stache demands so much respect from citizens.

shk_20161021_india-jaipur_1338

shk_20161026_india-udaipur_2081

shk_20161026_india-udaipur_2154

shk_20161103_india-varanasi_5229

shk_20161102_india-varanasi_5068

This style is popular in Utter Pradesh. It almost looks like an inverse goatee.

shk_20160905_india-munnar_2253

This gentleman posed against his green home in Munnar, in the heart of south Indian tea country.

shk_20161108_india-varanasi_5840

I speak no Hindi. This gentleman spoke no English. Somehow we came to the understanding that I wanted to take his portrait and he wanted some baksheesh (basically a small tip). We took some shots, exchanged some Rupees, and both graciously thanked each other. Dhanyavaad, kind sir.

shk_20160903_india-varkala_1660_2

shk_20161026_india-udaipur_2091

shk_20161103_india-varanasi_5235

shk_20161107_india-varanasi_5815

shk_20161108_india-varanasi_5826

Striking blue eyes in the holy city of Varanasi

shk_20161022_india-jaipur_1479

shk_20160830_india-alleppey_1218-3

Gopal, our self-proclaimed adopted Indian uncle, and the kindest man in Kerala.

shk_20161106_india-varanasi_5613

shk_20160904_india-munnar_2099

shk_20161026_india-udaipur_2076


love ya,
Kev

View All

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *