I have this friend… he is a Kung Fu teacher in Aurora, Il. While working out with his MMA guys I asked if maybe I could promote this “Anti-Traffiking” Fundraiser I was doing. I put my poster up in his window and he asked me who the model was. I told him it was a self portrait and that I shaved my hair to raise money for a little boy with Leukemia just a few months before. It was kind of funny, because, you know, when you do something yourself, well – you aren’t very impressed with it, cause you did it already and you are ‘on to the next thing’. Right? But Sifu (teacher in Chinese) was visibly impressed. He asked lots of questions about why I did it and when we were done he said, “I am going to grow my hair out and then donate it!” He was bald at the time. I told him it would take at least a couple of years, but he said he was IN.
This was a challenge for Sifu. He had never had long hair and his hair is… well, unruley. I didn’t really every hear him complain, but I could tell it was pretty much a daily inconvenience.
Well, here we are a couple of years later. And I had the honor of ‘finishing’ this journey with him through the following pictures. I really wanted to tell a story about who Sifu David Luna is – so as you look at these images try to imagine him talking to nature, trying hard to give me the poses I wanted, enjoying every moment and obliging me GREATLY by taking his hair OUT of the pony tail!
There is one picture that feels a little “haunting”. Sifu’s hair is cut off, sticking out to the side and he is looking at himself in the mirror. He asked me, “Why am I so emotional about this? It’s just hair, right?” I think even giving up things we aren’t particularly fond of can be tough. I think that the hacking away at his pony tail with my horrible scissors was also cutting away the 2 year commitment that, honestly, he could have quit any time. But he didn’t. Because he promised…. me.
This shoot felt very spiritual for me. Deep feelings of gratitude, honor, loss, giving and the fight with ‘self’ were rampant and palpable.