The acclaimed coffee table book Of Beards and Men by Minnesota artist Joseph D.R. OLeary explores the fascination society has with bearded men and the personas they project to the world around them – from Brooklyn hipster to priest and everything in between.
Of Beards and Men is filled with 150 visually rich and detailed portraits along with a brief biography of each bearded gentleman. The 212-page book includes essays by photographer and educator Douglas Beasley; photography historian, writer, consultant, and curator George Slade; arts writer Andy Sturdevant, an insightful interview by Beardrevered, and a statement by the New York Times photography critic Vicki Goldberg.Portraits in Of Beards and Men have appeared in national and international exhibitions and have gone viral on numerous social media forums. They have been featured by online news sources such as the Daily Mail UK, Design Taxi, and The Huffington Post. In addition a portfolio from the project recently made OLeary a finalist in both the 2013 and 2014 prestigious Critical Mass Award from Photolucida.
Of Beards and Men also received the 2014 IPPY (Independent Publishers) Award and the 2014 AIGA/MN Design Award. To view the book’s promotional video, visit https://vimeo.com/96646427
Note: The book was printed and bound in the United States using traditional/UV offset printing on cover weight premium paper. The hardcover edition incorporates foil stamping, debossing, and a tip-in photo. The hardcover slipcase edition includes a fabric-wrapped slipcase with debossing and a tip-in photo. The softcover edition uses soft-touch laminate and foil stamping and includes a special French fold dust jacket. All editions are smythe-sewn.
Availability: Amazon.com, ofbeardsandmen.com
Like many projects of renown, Of Beards and Men was born in a period of loss, transition, and artistic growth. In 2011, OLeary’s brother was killed in a car accident. A short while later, the artist contracted a debilitating bout of Lyme disease that put him on crutches for five months.
To cope with his crushing grief and amended abilities, OLeary immersed himself in his longtime hobby – photography. Specifically, he began taking photographs of bearded men in the converted barn-turned-studio of his hobby farm outside of Minneapolis.
Nineteen months later, OLeary found he had a portrait series offering a visual record and celebration of contemporary bearded men in the early twenty-first century. He states, "While this book began with facial hair as a point of departure photographically, it is evident that the ‘beard’ was merely a thread to connect what we now see: portraits of individual men and the manner in which each defines, expresses, and presents himself."
Author: Joseph D.R. OLeary was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin. After receiving his BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1992, he opened Veto Design, a small but prolific graphic design studio whose clients include a variety of arts, cultural, and educational institutions and organizations, including the Walker Art Center, Highpoint Center for Printmaking, San Francisco Symphony, and Northern Clay Center.
OLeary is active in the Twin Cities art and design communities, and his professional work has been recognized by the American Center for Design, the Type Directors Club, the American Institute of Graphic Artists, Graphic Design USA, and Print, among others.
In 2005, OLeary moved to a hobby farm outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he restored a small barn and converted it into the studio where he now practices his lifelong love of photography, specifically portraiture and self-portraiture.