The Shop Presents: Essentials

A photographic exploration into Barbershops and Beauty Salons in Black and brown communities during the global pandemic.

Our hair holds rich history and carries legacies that date back generations. Before clippers and flat irons, we used our hands to weave patterns as a disguise for the roadmap that led to our freedom. Our mothers would pop us with a fine-toothed comb as they told us to sit still while they weaved our strands of hair tightly onto our scalp. A tender head was the sacrifice we had to pay for self-preservation. A tender head prepared us for the many other pains life would bring to people whose skin was too dark; so we would gather in shops and salons to share the stories of our struggles and victories of the week and how the times have changed, all during the duration of a “wash and go’ or a “number two fade”. 

Barbershops and Hair Salons serve as cornerstones for communication and connectivity in communities of color. They offer more than just a fresh cut.  Our hair care is a culture that is preserved through the craftsmanship of our barbers and stylists. Due to the stigmas and lack of resources around mental health treatment in the POC communities; barbershops and salons are where those who struggle with mental health and the everyday trials of life go for refuge.

It is important that these stories are documented because, as the narrative continues to be written about the beginning of the 21st Century, it is imperative that we preserve the stories and culture of a community of people who are often underrepresented. This project explores and expands the narrative around the culture of black hair and mental health while also educating viewers on a piece of a culture that is often misunderstood.



Shelby Wormley is a photojournalist and visual storyteller. A York City native and current resident of Lancaster City, she has used her camera as a tool to gather, document, learn, and engage with her community for the past decade. 

She and her husband, Jordan Wormley, cofounded WE&Company, a storytelling company based out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She received her BA from York College and was the Social Practice and community Engagement Artist in Resident at Franklin & Marshall College. Her work has been exhibited widely across Pennsylvania and she has participated in several community-based group projects. 

Plan Your Visit

Exhibition Details

Date:  October 18, 2023 – February 25, 2024

Gallery: DeSoto Family Vault

Third in the Burg

Friday, January 19, 2024
5:00 – 8:00 pm
Free Admission


Thursday, February 15, 2024
5:30 – 8:00 pm
Free Admission

Third in the Burg

Friday, February 16, 2024
5:00 – 8:00 pm
Free Admission