It is devastating when someone gets a cancer diagnosis, and it can be much harder to find the light in the situation.
Cancer patient, Joseph Barnes found his way to stay positive by turning the associated hair loss into a playful photography project.
Barnes decided to take this time to try various of different hairstyles. He posed a series of portraits in which he shows off eight different hairstyles and a different personality to go along with each one.
Barnes was first diagnosed in the summer of 2021. He went to the doctor for back pain and was diagnosed with testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs and spine.
Soon after the diagnoses, Barnes started treatment.“When I started chemo. I was told I was going to lose my hair, so I decided to have some fun with it first. I figured it would be a lot nicer to do it on my terms, rather than to wait for it to start falling out.”
“I asked a friend who's good with hair to give me a hand and ended up being really impressed with what she did.” Of the eight styles photographed, he only had ideas for two of them. “I didn't actually specifically request any of the hairstyles other than the short mohawk [from the movie] Taxi Driver. I gave her free rein to do whatever she wanted and was pleasantly surprised with her choices.”
Barnes’ hairstyle series does indicate that he is staying positive and trying to make the best of a bad situation. “I’ve actually been having quite a bit of fun these days. Some friends came and shot a fake trailer for an action movie while I was in the hospital, and I started a (hopefully funny) podcast to let my friends and family know what I’m going through.
"The side effects have been really mild so far though, so I can’t really complain. Others have it a lot worse.”
Barnes does however have a favorite portrait out of all the others. “I'd say my favorite is photo number three (eating the cookie) because that's where I look the least like my normal self in my opinion.”
Even after the fun and temporary hairstyles, he does not seem to be convinced to try anything new and permanent when the time comes again.
“When my hair grows back, I'll probably just go back to my usual non-hairstyle though, because I'm too lazy to actually take the time to do anything to it in the morning.”