Everything must have its end, or there is no beginning.
Meet Juan Carlos Verona: London based photographer, hairdresser and creative behind evocative new photo book, Dead Beauty.
An homage to the transformative power of hair (as both subject and medium), Dead Beauty artfully explores notions of existential transience; examining life, death and the renewal process, through a series of stirring still and black and white portraits.
Culminating Juan Carlos’s coalescing passions for hair, photography and aesthetic exploration, Dead Beauty fortifies the eternal, mutual reciprocity of death and transformation, offering an optimistic stance on what, for some, can be an otherwise daunting concept.
Following the book’s launch, we checked in with the Spanish born creative to learn more of his influences and the ideas motivating Dead Beauty.
TJ: What first attracted you to the world of hair?
JCV: My late mother had a small hair salon at home in Spain, so I grew up surrounded by the hairdressing culture.
I was a teenager when she left us [and] began cutting my own hair [thereafter]. After that, I began cutting my friends’ hair and started [professional] hairdressing training during my twenties.
What happened next, is history.
TJ: What inspired the premise for DEAD BEAUTY?
JCV: DEAD BEAUTY was inspired by the way that things can be transformed or recycled after their purpose [is met]. How they can provide comfort.
Hair that is used for hair extensions, is hair that has been cut [previously]. It’s hair that is re-used with the purpose of doing something positive.
I wanted to reflect the idea that ‘death’ is a part of transformation. A change.
TJ: How many images are featured in the book?
JCV: 54 images – including still life and subjects.
TJ: How many creatives were involved in the production of DEAD BEAUTY?
JCV: There was six of us in total. Hair Colourist Ruth Jay, Stylists Chloe Guillanneuf and Kate Wotherspoon, as well as Makeup Artist Reve Ryu and Assistant Beth McKendrick.
TJ: Any new insights or discoveries made upon DEAD BEAUTY’s completion?
JCV: I was planning to host a gallery exhibition when I finished the project. However, due to lockdown restrictions, we had to change [course] and share online.
Seeing the images online (via computer, smartphone etc.) is a different experience to seeing the images printed individually or collectively in a photo-book. This made me appreciate the physical material even more.
TJ: As a creative, where do you typically source your inspiration?
JCV: The source is everywhere. These days, we are surrounded by an ocean of images. Technology has made the capturing and distributing of images incredibly simple.
I try to avoid the mainstream, and look back through photography and art history. There’s an amazing archive out there.
TJ: How are you keeping creatively charged and connected during the current pandemic?
JCV: I try to maintain a routine, and have been using this time to learn and read things that will complement my skills. I also set up an online shop where people can purchase selected prints of my work.
TJ: How can readers learn more about DEAD BEAUTY?
DEAD BEAUTY is available for purchase now via blurb.co.uk. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, all sale profits will be donated to The Trussel Trust Charity (UK) and Asociación Libelula (Spain).