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The Story Behind That Picture: "The Best Hair"

By: Thorsten Overgaard



A couple of months ago I was asked to photograph hair in my hometown Aarhus, Denmark.

Jan, (my hairdresser for the past 25 years who does my hair, my childrens hair, and the Crown Princes hair) approached me with a special request; one of his hairstylists had entered the Junior Intercoffure International Hair Competiion and she desperetly needed some quality photos.

I wondered how I could make sure to photograph the hair so professional judges could clearly and accuratly judge the hair.

The hairdresser was Maja Provstgaard who was the one to be judged in the Intercoiffure Junior competition.


Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95


I thought I had it all planned, technical, detailed, flat. However, when I saw the photos from the previous years, I realized that the photos might be of hair, but as always style and aesthetics is what "sells" the hair, not a precision photo of the hair alone. Maybe exactly when the judges are professional hairdressers, they might want to see something other than just hair.


Moody Monday. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95


We set out on a horribly cold Danish afternoon with the hairdresser, model and an extra assistant. We did a few different locations that are known for their good light, including the beach, which was shockingly ice cold. I took both color and black and white photos, and the shoot lasted about 3 hours including travel.

We decided to go for the full Noctilux look, which means that only a narrow band in the image would be in focus - the rest would disappear in a blur. The hair simply had to look good enough under those conditions.


Hairdresser Maja Provstgaard with model Mie Folkenberg


The good thing about having a hairdresser with you is the same as having a stylist with you when you do fashion. Someone who knows what the details should look like, and who continiously makes sure everything is corrected. You may be photographing and suddenly the wind makes the the clothes move, the wind blows in the hair and itchy fingers pull on things meant to stay in place. That's why a backup assistant or stylist is always a great addition to a fashion, beauty, or hair shoot like this one.


The main pohoto from the day. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95



I was happy with the way the photos turned out, and was even happier to know Maja was ecstatic! We all held our breaths as we waited the full month for the results. The results came in, and Maja was chosen as the Audience Choice winner. Horray!

It's nice to shoot something different and a little bit challenging, and even nicer to help another asthetic artist win.


Lightroom Survival Kit


Dark Beauty. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95


Thorsten Overgaard, May 17, 2014







Above: Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95 . © Thorsten Overgaard.


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The Story Behind That Picture

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Thorsten Overgaard
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish writer and photographer, specializing in portrait photography and documentary photography, known for writings about photography and as an educator. Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via e-mail.

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