An Ipswich photographer has created a unique calendar for beard lovers, with proceeds going to beyondblue.
The 2016 calendar, called Beards of Ipswich, showcases 12 of Ipswich’s sexiest bearded men, with each photo suited to their personality.
Photographer Jason McNamara says his fascination with beards started with his commitment to laziness and his lack of shaving.
“I had an opportunity to let myself go crazy and for years I could never grow anything proper. So I just let it grow and grow and all of a sudden it evolved into this thing and I started noticing them (beards) everywhere.
“It’s like once you have one you’re part of this secret man’s club. There’s a whole industry out there for them, that I had no idea existed.
“Being a photographer I thought it would be nice to do a series of photos of the different styles of beards and then eventually I thought about a calendar and raising money for a charity.”
Proceeds from the calendar will go to beyondblue, a charity which helps families, individuals and communities suffering from anxiety and depression.
Jason says he chose the charity because a lot of his friends and family suffer from depression.
“It’s something I’ve really become aware of in the last couple of years and didn’t realise it was so widespread,” he says.
“Seven people take their lives from depression every day in Australia. It’s a huge amount and it’s horrible.
“The photos in the calendar have a lot of humour involved, because I wanted to help out a serious issue, in a not-so-serious way.”
Jason says it wasn’t hard to find men with beards for the calendar shoot.
“Once I put the word out that I was looking for beards, I had no shortage of beards,” he laughs.
“The hardest part was finding the different styles of beards that would suit the photos that I wanted to take.”
Jason says there are many different styles of beard, but the most practical one by far is Nathaniel’s, who is the backyard-adventurer-looking fellow in the calendar.
“It’s like an Abraham Lincoln style beard, but he doesn’t have the moustache part, just the hair under the chin,” he laughs.
“It’s the perfect beard, because you can eat anything and it doesn’t get stuck in your moustache. That’s the most frustrating thing about a beard, is stuff getting stuck in it.”
Jason says the beard he would most like to have himself, though, regardless of how impractical it is, is Joel’s Jesus-walking-on-water look.
“It’s such a full thick beard, it’s like a living thing on his face,” he laughs.
“He’s got the whole look, the dreadlocks and the beard. It’s actually a bit of a man crush, I think. He’s a top bloke.”
The calendar has already become very popular, being snapped up by beard lovers all over Australia. Jason says he’s been surprised how big it has become.
“I really thought it was going to be something that the local Ipswich community would get behind and buy, but it’s gone gang busters,” he says.
“I’m getting orders from places like the Northern Territory, Tasmania, Western Australia, all these places I could never reach.
“It just goes to show that there is a real connection there with the cause, not with the beards but where the proceeds are going to.”
Jason says he plans to keep the Beards of Ipswich calendar going every year, but might be shaving his own beard off after this.
“I’m thinking of shaving it off and photographing myself every day for a year, for the next calendar,” he says.
“There’s a certain point that you get to when growing a beard, where you go, ‘I can’t get rid of it because it’s part of me,’ and I don’t want to get to that point. I don’t want to waste my pretty face.
“Once I get older, I think then I can cover my face up with hair.”
The Beards of Ipswich 2016 calendar is available online at www.jasonmcnamara.com.au or at the Pumpyard Bar and Brewery in Ipswich.