I met Sergio inside Floyd’s 99 Barber shop on a sunny afternoon in the Wicker Park area in Chicago. I had been walking down N. Milwaukee Ave and spotted the Floyd’s 99 sign and thought it was interesting looking. I walked in and immediately noticed that it had old school charm but with a hipster modern feel to it. This place wasn't your typical barber shop that had that run down feel to it but instead felt very alive and bright. There was some hipster jazz music playing in the background but I couldn't quite make out what it was. I was really starting to like this place and wanted to photograph it but all the barbers were busy with customers and I was being a bit cautious to not just barge in and take pictures of random people getting their haircut.
I turned around and started for the door and that is when I noticed Sergio sitting in the waiting area with a young woman. He was muscular and had a tight white t-shirt on, he looked very intimidating, but something pulled me in closer. I approached him and said “hi" and asked him how he was doing. He nodded and said hi but he didn’t give me my normal welcoming vibe. I asked him if he was here getting his hair-cut, and he explained that he was here with his daughter and waiting with her for her haircut. I don’t know what came over me but the next thing I know is that I started chatting with him and went on to explain my photo project and told him I thought he had a great look going on with the t-shirt, muscles and hat. I thought for sure he was going to brush me off, and in the back of my mind I thought maybe even threaten me, but miraculously Sergio agreed to a photo.
I asked him if we could go outside the Barber shop to get some better light and to not disturb everyone inside the shop. We walked outside and we kept chatting. Sergio seemed to warm up but had a cautious look on his face, like he didn’t know what to expect and thought he had realized that he was all of the sudden involved in some photographers photo shoot. Eventually Sergio warmed up and we both laughed at some similarities we had. We were the same age and both had daughters. I explained that I had recently taken up weight-lifting again more seriously, but I joked that I didn’t have the muscles that he did and he laughed. Sergio went on to explain that he works-out at X-Sport gym and that he works in high-end retail at St. Laurent. I didn’t know much about high-end retail but he explained it very simply, and that shirts like the one he was wearing are priced in the $500 range. I almost dropped my camera when I heard that, but I guess that is why they call it high-end fashion.
Sergio and I had a good chat, and I thanked him for his time. I am really glad I approached Sergio as he turned out to be such a fantastically interesting person and actually easy to talk to. He is a perfect fit to the project.