Of Beards and Men: Portraits of Men and Their Beloved Facial Hair


Photographer Joseph D.R. OLeary wants to live in a world where beards are appreciated as fine art. And so he’s doing his best to shape this world into such a place by photographing beards and the men who grow them for his photo series Of Beards and Men.

The project started in February of 2012 without much direction, but before long the idea began to take shape. He didn’t just want to photograph beards, he wanted to photograph bearded men; that is to say, he wanted to capture them, their personalities and passions, and not just their facial hair.
















Over 18 months, OLeary photographed 130+ men, many of them hearing of the project by word of mouth. And now that he has a solid series of photos put together, he wants to turn it into a great coffee table book that people can enjoy and show off.

That’s where you and Kickstarter come in. Using the funding platform, he hopes to raise a total of $27,000 by August 16th. So far he has almost $8,000 raised. Here’s his Kickstarter video:

If you choose to support the campaign and get your own, you’ll get “a handsome coffee table book” that includes three essays written by art critic George Slade, photographer and educator Douglas Beasley and Twin Cities’ arts writer Andy Sturdevant. And, of course, you’ll get to see many more photos like the ones above.

Pledge levels for the project range from $10 for an acknowledgment in the book, to $65 for a standard (soft cover) edition, to $85 for a limited (hard cover) edition, all the way to $5,000 for 16 limited edition 9×13 beard prints of your choice so you can create a “wall of beards.”

Don’t wait for the campaign to be over either, the print run will be limited to 1,000 copies, and only backers who pledge $65 or more will be guaranteed one of those books. To find out more about the men, their beards, and the photographer who photographed them, head over to the campaign page or check out the Of Beards and Men website here.

Image credits: Photographs by Joseph D.R. OLeary and used with permission

  • MMielech

    This will go over well in Williamsburg and Baltimore. Hipsters, unite!

  • Jeremy Madore

    Wonderfully executed. There’s a very clearly established vision here. Fantastic work!

  • Adam Cross

    I like the idea, but I think it would’ve been better with the bearded folks in their own environment, the studio settings seems really stale to me.

  • Sid Ceaser

    Yes. Just yes. Viva la Beards!

  • Elizabeth

    I really want to see the images before they were edited.

  • Anthony Harden

    Pause the video around 1:19 to at least glimpse an original.

  • kshapero

    Heck I oughta be in there.

  • Jack Carver

    Really cool series!, but I’d like to have seen more diversity in the subject’s races, looks very homogenous so far.

  • Snake

    Wait , I see The End of MGS Snake Eater !

  • Nick Redman

    These are great! Like the consistency in the series and the studio setting, with a little of their environment brought in. Also like the way the wall is blended in to the floor too. Nicely done. Congrats.:)

  • Sky

    all stereotypes about facial hair in one session.
    Most amazing.