Bay Area photographer Brandon Tauszik knows that GIFs don't have to be memes, or funny, or even all that fast paced. Instead, they can be a subtle snip of a barber's scissors, and with that, a snippet of life.

So that's exactly how Tauszik approached his newly released project, Tapered Throne, which you should check out in its entirety. He's generously shared some of his GIFs with SFist, which come accompanied by an essay by Vassar Africana Studies professor Quincy T. Mills, Ph.D.

Writes Mills:

"Brandon Tauszik’s GIF images of black barbers in Oakland, California reveal the resolve of a group of ardent professionals. The project illuminates the position of barbers as conduits of black communities; of Oakland. Behind these portraits are the aspirations of men who are not just making a living, but who see the value of their labors in the development of black community life. Like the GIF images themselves, these men and their shops are not static. Even as they stand behind their barber’s chair with arms propped up clutching the clippers, they are constantly in motion and in tune with the comings and goings of the people in their city."


NAME: Beanie Man

SHOP: Bay Style Cuts

"Everybody comes to Oakland to get their haircut. It’s just a 'get it like you live' type attitude, that’s the demeanor we carry out here."



SHOP: Fruitvale Barbers

"We sometimes have to deal with a lot of negativity in Oakland; poverty, crime, violence. But I don't believe my shop has to be part of all that."


NAME: Ms. Munene (owner)

SHOP: Brothers Barber College

"Barbering is one of the few trades, like construction, that really works with felons. This is a way to provide for your families and it's a legal hustle."


NAME: Lamar

SHOP: Johnson's House of Styles

"I used to get cut here when I was a kid. My clients are regulars, mostly neighbors with a connection to what's going on in the neighborhood. This is the Facebook right here."


NAME: Don (customer)

SHOP: Porter's

"When I moved to Oakland, I wanted to know who had the best reputation of serving in the black community. When I come here I learn about whats going on in the area, and I learn about who's doing what."


NAME: Tyrone

SHOP: Pull Your Pants Up Barber Shop

"I’ve been shot in the chest at point blank range, left for dead on the sidewalk. But this is what God had in store for me. In this shop you're gonna learn how to respect authority."



SHOP: Room to Groom

"You can come here in this mothafucka' and be who you really are. Because out there in society, you can't be too black out there."

View more at Tapered Throne.