Maya at Hair Are Us

Maya at Hair Are Us

I was walking past a hair salon, Hair Are Us, on my way to a performance in Little Five Points, when I noticed the beautiful light illuminating the interior of the salon. I walked through the open door and was subsequently introduced to the world of black women’s hair by the stylist, Maya. Atlanta has long been influential in setting many of the social, political and cultural trends across the United States, particularly for African-Americans, and this has also held true for hair. As a result of the Bronner Bros. International Hair Show, which was launched in Atlanta in 1947, Atlanta is now at the center of the black hair universe. Weaves are especially popular and involve sewing extensions into braids which then increase the length of the hair. Typically, a weave will last two-and-a-half to three months. Maya’s client, Rickira, flew down from Chicago the morning of her appointment, bought 24 inch virgin hair extensions, and then proceeded to sit down in Maya’s chair to get her hair done. Rickira was flying back home the next morning. Maya mentioned that this was not unusual; she has had clients come to Atlanta from all around the country solely for the purpose of getting their hair styled.


  1. Jerry Turner said:

    Wonderful photograph. Wonderful light.

  2. There is such an ethereal quality to your portraits. Beautiful, Beate!

  3. Jerry Turner said:

    It is so painterly, I am wondering, did you take the photo in one of the salon mirrors?

    • Jerry, the light that filtered in through the window was soft and diffuse and reflected off the mirrored tiles and other surfaces within the salon. In addition, the lights above the mirror produced back lighting which in combination with the natural light created the effect you see in the image. This light was short lived. The sun was descending and within 20 or so minutes the light would not have captured my attention if I had peered into the salon. It was all about being at the right place at precisely the right time. So to answer your question directly, I was standing right in front of the open door to the salon when I took this picture and aimed my camera directly towards my subjects.

      • Jerry Turner said:

        Thanks, Beate, for the information on how you were able to create such a beautiful image, in subject, composition, and lighting.

        I feel the same way about the photograph you did of the child holding the dog. It too was a masterful image!!

  4. Riko Carrion said:

    You must see “Good Hair,” a documentary by Chris Rock. It could be your next study.

    • Thanks for the suggestion. I have heard about it. I think it is also a book.

  5. Monique said:


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