Skip to main content
The Postal Museum Borough Market Sadler’s Wells Horniman Museum and Gardens House of Commons The Royal Institution of Great Britain Sky Garden 10-11 Carlton House Terrace ArcelorMittal Orbit RSA House British Library Two Temple Place The National Gallery Chiswick House and Gardens Goldsmiths' Centre, The Somerset House Sir John Soanes Museum Shakespeare’s Globe Science Museum Saatchi Gallery Royal Opera House Royal Museums Greenwich The Royal Institute of British Architects Royal Hospital Chelsea Whitechapel Gallery Royal Horticultural Halls Westminster Abbey Wellington Arch Royal Geographical Society Wellcome Collection Events Spaces Southbank Centre Wallace Collection Royal College of Physicians Royal Albert Hall Victoria and Albert Museum Twickenham Stadium Royal Air Force Museum Trinity House Royal Academy of Arts Tower of London Tower Bridge Old Royal Naval College Tate Modern Tate Britain Syon Park St Paul's Cathedral St Martin-in-the-Fields Southwark Cathedral Spencer House Natural History Museum National Theatre Museum of the Order of St. John Museum of London, Docklands Museum of London Museum of Brands Middle Temple Madame Tussauds LSO St Luke's Lord's Cricket Ground London Zoo (ZSL) WWT London Wetland Centre London Transport Museum London Museum of Water & Steam Coca-Cola London Eye Leighton House Museum Laban Building Kew Palace Kew Gardens Kensington Palace IWM London (Imperial War Museum) Lincoln's Inn HMS Belfast Harrow School Hampton Court Palace Guildhall Gibson Hall Garden Museum Foundling museum Dulwich Picture Gallery the Design Museum Cutty Sark BFI IMAX BAFTA 195 Piccadilly Banqueting House Benjamin Franklin House Churchill War Rooms Central Hall Westminster Freemasons’ Hall Spitalfields Venue

Somerset House

Saturday, January 17, 2015 - 18:15

Beard - 5 – 29 March 2015

Terrace Rooms, Somerset House, London

Free admission

A pogonophile photography exhibition by Mr Elbank


In March 2015, Somerset House will present a series of portraits by photographer Mr Elbank in which all of the subjects sport a beard.  Featuring over 80 images exhibited for the first time and exploring the art of grooming, the show will celebrate the enduring beard trend which has exploded across the world.  The pogonophiles come from all corners of the globe and from all walks of life; it includes the famous facial hairs of actor John Hurt and models Ricki Hall and Billy Huxley, but also other interesting characters such as tattooist Miles Better and British woman Harnaam Kaur, who has been growing a beard since the age of 16 after being diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition which causes excess hair growth.

Much of Mr Elbank’s beard series will be recognisable to the social media generation after one of his early portraits of Australian charity campaigner Jimmy Niggles went viral and he became a social media sensation. 

While living and working in Sydney, Mr Elbank shot a mens’ concept editorial for Kiwi magazine Black on beards – one of the first to recognise their rise in popularity.  This resulted in a fascination with facial hair for Mr Elbank and he started seeking subjects for a personal photography project on beards. 

Through a friend, he met Jimmy Niggles who told him about his charity initiative following the death of his close friend from skin cancer.  Jimmy’s idea was to grow a beard as a conversation starter to spread the word about the preventable disease and share his friend’s story.  To support Niggles’ cause, Mr Elbank started up #Project60 whereby he would photograph 60 people with beards to raise awareness of Niggles’ Beard Season and reach an international audience by seeding them on social networking sites.  He received over 1,200 applications from people wanting to participate and those selected travelled to Mr Elbank’s rural Warwickshire home to sit for their portrait at their own expense.  The #Project60 images have been widely shared on social media and have encouraged viewers to go for skin checks which can prove life-saving.

The exhibition will encompass Mr Elbank’s original collection of works, #Project60, plus new and unseen photographs shot specially for the Somerset House show, bringing them all together for the first time.