• 11.20.12

Hair Yesterday: Portraits of Anachronistically Coiffed Lincoln Extras

Sporting hairdos worn at the Gettysburg Address, but modern-day clothes, extras from the film Lincoln star in a portrait series full of contradictions.

The surreal part about being on a movie set is seeing actors from the film walking around doing errands and such while still situated in costume. A photographer on the set of Mad Men documented this phenomenon last spring, and now a new gallery takes the anachronism further back than the 1960s–to the age of Lincoln.


Senior art producer Anya Mills of The Martin Agency noticed that an awful lot of people seemed to be walking around her town of Richmond, VA, adorned with old-timey mutton chops and other wildly out of date affectations. The reason for the influx of whiskers and such turned out to be Steven Spielberg filming his Lincoln biopic in town. When the extras would leave the set, they might don their civilian duds, but their hair still looked as though it belonged in a museum. Mills quickly found a way to spin this follicular surplus into an artistic statement.

Teaming up with local photographer Adam Ewing, Mills put together a series of portraits of these extras in the style of 19th-century battle photographer Mathew Brady, who chronicled the American Civil War. Each shot features antiquated hairstyles juxtaposed with modern-day casual gear (a Bad Brains T-shirt makes an appearance at one point). The Martin Agency even hosted an exhibition of the new portraits November 15th, timed to the premiere of Lincoln. If you weren’t invited, however, you can look through the images in the slide show above.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.