Hsien Ma

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Acupuncturist’s Office, Marina Del Rey. April 2013

Over the years I have sought acupuncture treatment for a variety of ailments. While not a waiting room per se, this chair in the doctor’s office is specifically for a patient to wait in while the doctor is with another patient. The office has a tranquil atmosphere, each treatment always started with a cup of tea, and Dr. Hsien has a very calming and reassuring air. You can see the doctor’s desk in the corner with another chair for the patient to sit in while talking to the doctor. This chair is only for waiting. To the left of the chair is a doorway with a beaded curtain that leads to the treatment area. I was getting treated for hip and back issues. At the time Jake was living at home and we both saw the doctor once or twice a week for many of the same things. Like father, like son. Jake primarily for his back pain and to help with anxiety. In addition to the traditional needles and hot cupping, Dr. Hsien would attach electric wires to the needles for deep muscle stimulation. I had never experienced anything like it before. Overall, his treatments were very effective, we always emerged calmer and more relaxed. While I no longer see Dr. Hsien, he is still there in his small two-room office in the Marina.

Lincoln Barbers

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Lincoln Barbers, Santa Monica. April 2013

Everybody needs to get their hair cut. By April, I was well into the waiting room project, and began to look for these spaces, and the best photograph, rather than having the image come upon me. I took several shots of these chairs from different angles before deciding on this one. Lincoln Barbers is a no-frills place with cinder block walls and a concrete floor. Most of the barbers are young Latino men, many with tattooed necks and close-shaven heads. Three years ago, the haircuts were cheap, and you could get an old-fashioned hot towel shave for 15 bucks. My guy, Steven, was a polite 24-year old who gave me a great haircut. You can see him in the mirror with his back turned. I began going to Lincoln when I worked down the street the year before, and liked the experience so I continued to patronize them. I took Jake there a couple of times, and he hit it off with Steven, who was the same age. Jake wasn’t with me this day, it was just another haircut. I got to know Steven a little, he had overcome some adversity to get to where he was, and his dream was to open his own shop. He had plans to do so, and told me about them right after I took this shot. I have more to say about Steven in a later post, so stay tuned.