A year after I graduated from Portland State University, I moved out of my parent’s house and into my first apartment. My ex-girlfriend and I loved the location and the fact that the space had so many windows, so we applied online and moved in the next week. There’s a coffee shop on the corner of the block, a bar on the opposite corner, groceries are just two blocks away and the highway entrance is 30-seconds from the front door. Shortly after we moved in, the tattoo parlor underneath our apartment went out of business. A few weeks later someone had picked up the lease and began tearing the space apart.
One day I ran into the new tenant while he was tearing apart a set of cupboards. His arms and hands were covered in tattoos. At first I thought he was the owner of the tattoo parlor, he looked up and recognized me as the kid who walked by everyday on his way to work. I stopped in and he introduced himself as Brian Burt. He then told me that he was a barber and this was his latest shop. I shared that I was a photographer and he immediately asked me to come take photos of the shop once it was open and he would give me a free cut in return. That’s my kind of deal. I love the idea of trading services. Cash is great, but valuing someone else services as much as you value your own is even greater.
A few weeks passed and Lyle’s Barbershop was open for business. I had never been inside a true barber shop, so to have a shop in my building was a pretty cool novelty. Over the next few months Brian and I would work together to create tons of photos and video content for the shop’s Instagram and website. I think together, we’ve taken over 2,000 photos across 10 shoots.
The shop has been open for a year now, and to celebrate the occasion, Brian had an open house party. Kegs were tapped, Rainier beers stocked a cooler and free pizza was available on demand at UFO pizza next door. Dire Straights’ Sultans of Swing played over the sound system. People showed up in costume for Halloween, others in street clothes. The great thing about barbers is that everybody needs one. The shop was filled with folks from all walks of life and professions. From a husband and wife contracting duo, to a professional skateboarder who traveled down from Tacoma, WA to be there. It was a really great opportunity to meet a lot of different people, and drink Rainier.
Brian, thanks for creating this incredible shop. It’s had such a positive influence on our neighborhood. I really appreciate your craft and hope to see this shop grow to twice the size over this next year.