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INTERVIEW - Max Neubacher on Modern Barbering and Photography

Maxwell Lincoln Neubacher relocated from Toronto to Montreal in 2016 to pursue a degree in Photography at Concordia University. His work is inspired by the mundane intricacies of metropolitan life and the array of personalities which occupy its spaces. Neubacher’s approach ranges from portraiture to street and documentary style photography that dwells on the melancholic tones of the day-to-day. Much of his inspiration comes from the various subcultures which exist within the city sphere: skateboarding, streetwear fashion, modest yet thriving music scenes, and the individuals who are empowered by them are all central to realizing the aesthetic of his work.

Most recently, Neubacher has combined his creative drive with the art of barbering to aid with the opening of the new Monthly Barbershop location (the first shop independent of the Frank & Oak locations) in the Mile End of Montréal. In a photo series titled Sincerely, November, Neubacher captures the spirit of young entrepreneurship while also documenting the process of opening an independent shop. It all came to fruition on June 13, 2019 when Monthly Barbershop had their opening event, complete with complimentary cocktails from Menaud and Rise Kombucha, tunes from The Holy, and a historic Raptors game.

We had a chat with Neubacher to see how he fell into this unique business model and what it means to him as an artist.


SV: How did you get involved with Monthly Barbershop in the first place?

MN: When I moved to Montreal, Monthly was actually the first place I got my hair cut. Their downtown location was close to my apartment and it seemed like a good vibe. Then I started working with Grand Buda (aka Luis), who is a barber at their Mile End location. I continued to get my haircut with Monthly in the Mile End and Simon (the owner) also had a chair there. It’s a big family so we became close just by hanging out around the shop and next thing I knew I was getting a tour of their new space to be opened the following year.

SV: I know you recently started learning how to cut hair. How confident are you in your new skill?

MN: Honestly I’m still figuring it all out. It’s an art and we definitely don’t give barbers enough credit. The control and movements are insane. Definitely gonna take me awhile to get the hang of it. I’m three cuts in and still no blood, so that’s a win.

SV: You displayed the photo documentation of the store’s growth process at Monthly’s opening event. How was Sincerely, November different from other projects you’ve done?

MN: Sincerely, November was a cool process, just so natural and so fun. The one thing about this project was that it wasn't even a thing until the last second. We talked about it at first, but it wasn’t ever planned or for sure. And then I ended up with all these photos over a 6 month period and it just fell into place.

SV: What makes Monthly’s new location unique?

MN: Monthly’s new location is wild. It really incorporates their family vibe. Everybody is friends, people are always hanging out. They brought me under their wing. They carry amazing local Montreal brands like Lopez MTL, Objects Trouves, clothing by artist @oxyform and then they have the barber shop as their main space. I really believe having all these people and creatives come together in a barber shop makes for such a unique experience. It’s a place you want to get your haircut but also just spend your day.

SV: How do you decide when to take a photograph?

MN: Shit, that’s a hard question. I’m honestly not sure. I think photos (and damn this is gonna sound mad cheesy) are just a way in which people see the world and I guess I just take photos of how I see things in the world. So, if it tells a story in my head and looks good to me, I’ll take it. Also to just step out of the scene and take a look at what's actually happening.

SV: I’ve known you for a really long time, and I feel like I know a lot about you. What’s something you’ve never told me before?

MN: Damn this is personal, I feel like you know most things. I’m not… uh... did you know I have a black belt in Taekwondo? Ahaha, that's so wild.


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