In Professor Glenna Gordon’s International Photojournalism course, students learn to engage with the language of visuals and to think critically about photographs and representations. After looking at both traditional photojournalism methods and new forms of image making, students can choose to create a hands-on photo project in a diaspora community in New York.

The neighborhood of Flatbush, Brooklyn, is home to many members of the West Indies community in New York City. Caribbean cultural influences can be felt on every corner. For this photo series, I spent time out on the streets of Flatbush and inside its hair salons, beauty parlors and barber shops to document the way in which hair is closely connected to personal identity in this culture. From braiding styles and dreadlocks to wigs and vibrant hair colors, the possibilities are endless. As such, the hair salons of Flatbush serve as a space in which men and women continually reinvent themselves – an intimate process that is shared between client and hairdresser.

This photo essay is part of a larger and ongoing body of work that explores the ways in which individuals within the diverse neighborhoods of New York City create and maintain their cultural identity. To see more of my work, find me on Instagram @simone_eringfeld or go to my website

    Mannequin heads showcase wigs at a beauty parlor on Flatbush Ave.
A woman receives a haircut at a beauty salon on Nostrand Ave.
Alyssa shows her new braids, mixing black with blue on Church Ave.
Susan works as a wig seller at a beauty supply store on Flatbush Ave.
    A hairdresser and her client chat away during the long braiding process.
       Interior view of a braiding salon on Flatbush Ave.
For Mitch, his dreadlocks are inseparably connected to his Rastafari identity and world view.
QBee works from home as a hair stylist.
      Pinky straightens the hair of her client Zion – a painful process.
     Pinky’s hands are experienced in all kinds of braiding styles.
     Pinky makes wigs out of 100% natural human hair at a hair salon on Flatbush Ave.
Dani shows her new hair color of pink combined with blue, which she did herself.
Barber Dolor gives his client a buzzcut on Nostrand Ave.
    A boy receives a haircut at Dolor’s barber shop.
  Dolor seen at work through the reflection of the mirror in his barber shop on Nostrand Ave.