Thanks to Fujifilm North America I just had the great pleasure to spend a few days documenting the work of Joshua Coombes, the founder of #DoSomethingForNothing, on the streets of New York City. It was an incredible experience and definitely the most important photographs I've ever taken.
Who is Joshua Coombes?
Josh is a young hairstylist from London who started giving free haircuts to homeless people during his time off, in an attempt to brighten up their day. The project, known as #DoSomethingForNothing, soon became his mission and he has been traveling to major cities around the world to touch lives, one person at a time.
Josh and I have known each other online ever since he started his project 2 years ago. We’ve been following each other’s work, determined that one day our paths would cross, and I would have the opportunity to tell his story through my lens. Thanks to the support of Fujifilm North America, who brought us together on the streets of New York City for 4 days last week, we finally made it happen!
We hit the ground running as soon as I landed on Tuesday afternoon. Josh had arrived from the U.K. a couple of days earlier. I couldn’t wait to meet Josh and start documenting his work. My X100F was loaded and ready to capture compassion and hope.
Over the following four days on the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn, we met people from all different backgrounds. Homelessness can happen to anyone at any time. White or black, young or old, misfortune and adversity don’t discriminate.
Working with my Fujifilm X100F was the perfect choice for this project. The 23mm focal length allowed me to be physically close, while its small size and silent shutter made it unobtrusive and non intimidating.
Every subject agreed to be photographed, but I didn’t start shooting right away, and Josh didn’t start cutting hair immediately either. Our first role was to listen, wipe tears and give hugs. We were always rewarded by the brightest smiles in the end!
What’s next for Josh? He obviously found his calling. As he recently wrote on Instagram: “This isn’t charity, it’s connection. It’s keeping all doors open to listen to others and learn.” I want to do all I can to support him in his mission to bring smiles in our challenging world, one haircut at a time. By doing so and sharing his experience, he is influencing others to also Do Something For Nothing, whatever that may be.
As for me, this project was life changing. I’ve been wanting to work on a humanitarian project for quite a while, and this is the perfect fit. Josh and I work well as a team, and the images I collected were definitely the most important photographs I’ve ever shot.
We wish to keep working together whenever possible to document other stories in other cities, to raise awareness and share the love. We are planning to write an ebook #DoSomethingForNothing in NYC in the next few months to raise funds to help Josh keep doing what he does with so much passion. We also want to show the recent photo documentary in galleries.
Below are a few of the beautiful souls we met on the street of NYC last week. This is a sneak peek! More photographs with their stories will be included in the ebook. To be notified of its release, please sign up to my mailing list.
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Here are some of the photographs I captured of #DoSomethingForNothing in NTC with my X100F:
Below are some of the before & after iPhone shot that Josh shares daily on Instagram: