Tuesday, December 4, 2012
All The Rage: The Return of Keith by Carl Proctor
'There was no shame for a man to lift up his wig in public to scratch his head. A man might remove his wig while sitting informally with friends. Some gathering places were equipped with wall pegs specifically meant for wigs.'
Wearing wigs goes back to the ancient Egyptians who wore them to shield their hairless heads from the sun. For nearly two centuries powdered wigs, also called perukes, were all the rage for men. Louis XIV, the King of France at the time, was only 17 when his hair started thinning. Worried that baldness would hurt his reputation, Louis hired 48 wig makers to save his image. O aristocrats began to copy the kings bouffant and the style trickled down to the upper-middle class and a new fad was born.
In the 18th century, during the height of the craze, men were not bombarded, as they are today, with late night infomercials for hair plugs, creams and procedures. Besides playing on our vanity, they are also an expensive. In the 18th century however long hair was also a status symbol, and hair loss, like for many men today, was for many, an embarrassing problem to deal with.
This embarrassment was not just about the loss of hair, but also about other things, that without the wig, could be seen by others. The wigs purpose also had a distinctly sexual connection. By 1580, syphilis became the worst epidemic to strike Europe since the Black Death. One of the side effects of the STD was patchy hair loss and open sores, often located on the head. To hide any funky aromas, perukes were coated with white powder and scented with lavender or orange.
By the late 18th century, the trend began to fade. French citizens ousted the peruke during the Revolution, and Brits stopped wearing wigs after Prime Minister William Pitt levied a tax on hair powder in 1795. Short, unpowdered hair became the new craze.
Model Keith was the subject of the first profile (Visual Stimulation) that I did featuring the work of Atlanta photographer Carl Proctor. I have been wanting to feature more of Carl's work with Keith for awhile now and when I saw his recent shoot with Keith donning a peruke, I wasted no time in contacting Carl.
Keith is fearless in front of the camera, self assured and full of energy. As an actor, he also is also skillful at taking on characters and has spent a lot of the past year on stage. Keith is also comfortable with his clothes off, something his friends like to give him a hard time about, many think it strange to see him actually dressed! Last year, he was also briefly naked on stage for a role in one of his plays.
Carl often merges two images within his work for a mirroring effect. I love in these shots how 18th century aristocratic Keith seems perplexed by modern day Keith's choice of undergarments. Seems the Keith from the past wants the Keith of the present to put a little more on as but as you can see, modern day Keith wants nothing of it! Check back in a couple of days for part 2 of this shoot when Keith gets rid of the wig and drops the pantaloons!
Carl Proctor on ModelMayhem
Carl Proctor Official Site: (message him for a password!)
Carl Proctor on FH:
-Selection: Chad Glenn
-On Your Mark: Nicholas
-Lying In Wait: Cameron Foster
-Visual Stimulation: Keith
-Not A Shy Bone In His Body:Ray Luis
-A Thousand Images Later: Benjamin Godfre
-And The Winner is....Quinn Christopher Jaxon
-Super Eighth: Sammy by Carl Proctor