Ruscha Activity 2: Twelve Barber Shops

Newcastle is a former steel town reinventing itself as a knowledge and creative industries hub. Whilst it remains the world’s busiest coal port, there is extensive development to reinvigorate the centre of the city, which hollowed out much in the same way as the centres of industrial US cities such as Detroit. Hunter Street, once the retail, administrative and commercial core of the city, is now at the centre of regeneration. I had read that in the decline of the UK high street, there had been a paradoxical flourishing of barber shops. So here are all the Barber shops in Hunter Street. Plus a vestige of a, not quite, bygone age, one of the ‘Gentleman’s Clubs’ and massage parlours that pepper the seedier end of the street. I followed the form of Nine Swimming Pools for this one, with colour images and a final tangential image, which provides a twist at the end of the book. The colour of the text for the title page is taken from the dominant brown colouring of the images (in the same way that the colour of the text in Ruscha’s book is taken from that of the pools).