With the magnificent Mangini Studio, just out from Candela Books, Richmond-based photographer Terry Brown and photographer/model (and Candela founder) Gordon Stettinius have created their own hysterical pantheon of awkward portraits that serves as a fake but fantastic tour of many of the best/worst decades in hair-don’t history.
The story goes like this: Stettinius, a self-described “man of average appearance,” visited the Mangini Studio in Richmond, Virginia (where both photographers are based) to have his portrait taken by Terry Brown after experimenting with the “oft-maligned” permanent wave. Stettinius supposedly noticed people responding more positively to his new ‘do, with formerly closed doors flinging open, people loving him more than before, etc. His spruced-up hair opened portals that had previously been firmly and forever shut to his old hair self.
In the acknowledgments, Stettinius thanks his wife for “her forbearance throughout the various looks that I brought home with me at the end of each day. I believe she knew what she was signing up for as we first met on a night when I was sporting a comb-over, a crucifix, and two spray tans.” Paging through the book, the noteworthy thing is not just how many looks Stettinius pulls off—which often enough render him unrecognizable from one page to the next—but rather how many times within the pages of 51 glee-inducing portraits I flipped the page, only to be newly invigorated by the unabashed splendor of a radically different getup when I thought I might already have seen the best.
All images © Gordon Stettinius and Terry Brown