By now you've seen the coverage of B-a-B's mingling with Dave Mead's Magnificent Specimens at the launch party of the exhibit... and it was a wild one... perhaps better than our Beard Ball in Brooklyn earlier this year. Of note, I think our event had more IRL beardos, while Dave had more pinned up and framed... and of course, the integral missing part from the exhibit that was glowingly present at our ball was Riss' presence... she was out of town and was unable to make it.
That said, when El Beardo first met Dave (regardless of how drunk he claims to have been) the chemistry was undeniable... here was Dave, a shaved bald ('chromed' as he put it) with a the tiniest of stubble's on his chin... we HAD to interview him about the dichotomy and juxtaposition of such magnitudes.
And we did... below is the hazy recollection of our meeting and the questions and answers that resulted... consider yourself present... or at least as present as I recall myself to be post the beer, booze n'beardo combos. Regardless, you still have about 50 days to visit the exhibit, and you really should... maybe even get a framed copy of your favorite for that special someone.
#1) Wow, what a launch party for Magnificent Specimens! Do you still have a headache like me? Tell us about all those involved, sponsors, partners, the bands (who was the electric cello instrumental guy?), and any other folks that helped you make it come to life.
Yeah, that was a doozie, eh? Not sure whether to thank or curse Brooklyn Brewery and Tuthilltown Spirits for the copious amounts of free beer and whiskey. Ok, actually, they both deserve a kiss on the lips. As does Sweet Leaf Tea. Plus, The Jordans and Sean Grissom (cello) for providing the tunes. But enough about our throwdown. We should talk about those who made this whole exhibit possible. Michael Ginsberg of Chelsea Market, James Moody of Guerilla Suit, Christian Helms of the Decoder Ring, Clay Crenshaw of Clay Crenshaw Design and Brian Jordan of, well, Brooklyn. Jordan was the man who introduced my work to Ginsberg many months ago. So, I guess Brian is the "Chuck Woolery" of it all. I should also mention my assistant, Matt Ellis – a one-man wrecking crew. Oh, and my wife, Bonnie Markel. She supported me the whole way on this thing.
#2) Speaking of personal, let’s start with some "Dave" info… What are some other major photographic feats you’ve had in your career? Was it all leading up to Alaska?
Let's see. Feats? Not sure I have any other feats. I have photographed Deion Sanders in his pajamas. Is that a feat? Or just kinda gross?
#3) You said that you used to have ‘some killer beards’ before you went ‘chrome’ can you #proveit? Why/when did you shave and will you ever grow it back?
Did I say that? Sorry. I was drunk. No, really, I’ve had some gnarly beards over the past ten or fifteen years but I’ve noticed the longer my beard gets, the less face time I get with my wife. That and I didn't want to steal any thunder from my subjects. It's all about them, right? No, wait. It's all about me. Have you mentioned that I’m for hire?
#4) Hm... so no proof, I see... Anyway, nearly all of the Magnificent Specimens shots seem to have some of the best facial expressions we have ever seen… how’d you manage that? Was the bald head/shaved chin key in generating these juxtaposed reactions?
A) With the reflection from my dome, they didn't know where to look. And that allowed me to capture a distant/confused gaze from my subjects. 2) I fed them Benadryl…
#5) Tell us about Alaska… was it totally awesome? What was the most impressive and out of the ordinary thing to happen or that you saw while on the ground at the World Beard and Mustache Championships?
I didn't see the World Beard & Mustache Championships. For real. I was holed up in a conference room on the 2nd floor doing portraits. Didn't see one bit of the contest. Who won?
#6) The national championships are around the corner… give us your best pitch based on your Alaska experience on why everyone who’s anyone in the world of bearding should attend.
Because Jack Passion is going to be vacationing in the Bahamas. (B-a-B note: Jack will actually be MCing the championship)
#7) True enough... What was your favorite photo shoot and resulting image from magnificent Specimens?
Oh, man. Too many from which to choose. Shot 130 portraits, 54 of which are hanging at Chelsea Market. If you're going to make me pick one, I’ll say, Toot, the scared marshal. So much comedy in that shot. Not the guy I want protecting my town.
#8) What is YOUR favorite facial hair style, you’ve surely seen your fair share of amazing chin manes, groomed follicles and elongated staches… is one better than the other?
Not sure I have a favorite but I’m most intrigued by the long mustache. What does that look like fresh out of the shower? What do you do with it when you have to bolt from the house in an instant? Can't be pretty.
#9) We hear you, a wet noodle isn't the sexiest thing on earth... So, what’s next for Dave Mead? Any cool projects you want to alert us to? Any more open bar launches we can attend?
No projects on the horizon. Just checking my mailbox for a letter from Ed McMahon. Wait. Is he dead? Then who's handing out all the free money these days?
#10) Finally, how’d my beard look to you at the exhibit… am I a Magnificent SpeciMAN?
Did we meet? Man, I was drunk…
To help you, Dave, and everyone else, remember the exhibit... we compiled the amazingly hairy feat into the highlights in the below shots... Check it out.