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“Southern Hemisphere Situation” by Benjamin James

 

“Because we live so far away we have don’t have the same mindset/budgets as “big production” crews, we think more about our environment, our talent pool, and the relationships we have with the creatives we call friends.”

The words “Lost hairdresser” indicate a hairdresser that is lost. Some would think hairdressers from Auckland, New Zealand would be considered lost, being so very far from BIG publications. But that may not necessarily be the case.

My name is Benjamin James and I am a hairstylist at Ryder Salon in Auckland, New Zealand. A little while ago I reached out to Lost hairdressers and we have been corresponding for some time. They asked me to write about what we do with hair in the Southern Hemisphere, so here we are.

In earlier emails between us we spoke of the editorial scene here in Auckland and both the frustrations and joy it brings me.  Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand with a population of around 1.5 million.

When you look at the New Zealand work against a world scale it is greatly underproduced.

This is no real fault of anyone in New Zealand, nor is it a bad thing! The way I have looked at it is that with capita comes money, with money comes production. The more money, the better the resources. The higher the production, the better the finished product. But my opinion on this is changing.

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Here in little old New Zealand our population is small – 4.5 million –  hence the problem we face. Because we live so far away we have don’t have the same mindset/budgets as “big production” crews, we think more about our environment, our talent pool, and the relationships we have with the creatives we call friends. By thinking this way we are creating a sense of family. Real joy is experienced by being around other creatives creating things!

Interestingly enough the very problem that we face of being so far away from big publications is also one of the greatest things about New Zealand.

The internet has brought the world together in so many ways.   We are now exposed to everything very quickly via social media and online platforms that release content on a daily basis.

Being so far away gives us the chance to stand back and observe, observe and observe some more. Collecting inspiration and knowledge, retaining it for a later date.

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I am constantly trawling through online platforms looking at who is doing what, why and how they have done it, tools and products used, little clues that give away the bigger picture. Tricks and techniques I otherwise wouldn’t have seen or used. After all you don’t know what you don’t know.

The internet has done big things for the editorial scene here in New Zealand too.  Not only has it brought us closer to the world, it’s enabled us to show the world just what we can do.  We’re not always following, sometimes we’re leading. We have some amazing talent here too.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Young New Zealand stylists Seb Hunt and Dylan Richards, for instance, were discovered by Justin Bieber and Kanye West and asked to style for them. These two guys hammered away doing what they do while showcasing it to millions of people online at the same time.  That’s how they got noticed, that’s how they got work.

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Being so far away gives us the chance to stand back and observe, observe and observe some more. Collecting inspiration and knowledge, retaining it for a later date.

So although we are far away and we don’t have the big production budgets of others, we, like you, have the internet. It allows us the chance to share our own very unique work, skills and opinions across the world in a matter of seconds and in turn generate exposure for New Zealand’s creatives.

So I have changed my opinion and am much more optimistic.  The internet exposes us for our worth and values rather than being measured on a good/bad scale. After all who is to say what bad hair is? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder right?

These are my views for now and, of course,  they are subject to change at any give time.

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