— Peeling the onion
Peeling the onion is a self-portrait series and the result of self-isolation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. For Nils Böddingmeier the lockdown felt like a gift of time and possibilities. He had wanted to experiment with his appearance, especially with his haircut, for some time. But fear of judgment outside of his social bubble and vanity kept him from following through with it. The isolation gave him the freedom to overcome these limitations, so he started to play around with his hair.
Hair plays an important role in cultures around the world. In some Native American tribes hair is sacred and a sign of cultural identification. The German proverb “alte Zöpfe abschneiden” (transl. cutting old braids) is a metaphor for progress as 18th centuryPrussia introduced a new hairstyle for soldiers. Today, it is not without reason that men’s hair loss treatment is a multi-billion dollar industry. It is widely known that many people cut their hair drastically after a break up or during other important changes in their lives as a clean slate. So it came as no surprise when a lot of people were changing their appearance at this significant point in time, most notably their haircuts. Maybe, Nils wonders, we were all looking for a distraction from the overwhelming Corona news, maybe we finally felt free to play around or maybe we felt it was time for a clean slate.
Nils Böddingmeier, born in 1988 in Bad Kreuznach, Germany is a photographer based in Berlin and Freiburg. With a focus on portraiture and reportage, he observes interactions of people and their surroundings. Driven by his curiosity in human life, Böddingmeier seeks for magical and overlooked realities. During his grad school studies in Forestry Science, photography was his creative outlet. As of 2020, he’s deepening his skill set at Ostkreuzschule für Fotografie in Berlin.