Every Tuesday through Saturday since 1962, Claude Russell woke hours before sunrise and drove thirty miles from his home in rural Surgoinsville, Tennessee to his little, one-man barber shop in Kingsport, Tennessee.
One of the few businesses open before dawn to serve shift workers, Claude’s offered haircuts, straight razor shaves, hot coffee, and a place where the community could gather to share the latest news and gossip. On Saturdays Claude’s was the place to watch sports. If you couldn’t afford to pay, Claude accepted barter.
A few weeks after I photographed Claude and his shop, Claude closed his door for good. Yet Claude’s had made such an impact on the East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia communities that in February, 2013, Kingsport held a ceremony and gave Claude the key to the city.
Photographs of Claude and his shop are part of an ongoing documentary project which I am currently shooting.
I am a social documentary and portraiture photographer who enjoys photographing everyday stories and everyday life. My focus is capturing my subjects' distinctive qualities and particularities in order to reveal their uniqueness and inherent worth.
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© Lynda Ward / Visual-Stories Photography