Anthony Waring - photographer & hairdresser
Anthony Waring was born 48 years ago in Liverpool where he grew up and went to school. He talks of how he and his friends, born in the sixties, had parents who worked so hard, many doing more than one job, and they still struggled to make ends meet. This certainly made him determined to get out of Liverpool and see something of the world. He says, ‘You just wanted to get out. You didn’t want to be like your parents. Well in some respects you did, for their integrity, but you didn’t want to suffer like they did and the only way you could see to better yourself was to leave the city’
He was always good at art and photography and although his teachers wanted him to stay on at school to do ‘A’ levels and then go on to university Anthony wanted to leave and do something artistic. His talents won him a scholarship to go to the renowned Slade School of Art in London but after a time he realised he was spending too much time in the common room and drinking beer and not doing enough art. As chance would have it he had a friend who was working at Vidal Sassoon hair salon who was always saying how artistic and wonderful it was there and how all the famous people came in and so he thought he would apply for a job there. He took his portfolio in and thankfully they seemed to like him instantly and offered him a job.
His apprenticeship took three years and the first year was mostly sweeping floors and even advertising the salon by walking around Bond Street wearing a sandwich board but that didn’t dent his enthusiasm. He discovered he had a natural talent and developed his skills.
His perseverance paid off and eventually his first ‘celebrity cut’ was for David Bowie! Vidal Sassoon’s was one of those salons where it ‘was happening’. Actors, actresses, musicians – a really good eclectic mix – were the clientele which was really exciting. As time went on Anthony was sent to New York to help train staff and open a salon there followed by Japan and Paris.
Eventually, however, he realised he wanted a business of his own so Anthony took the big step of leaving and opening his own salon in Camden Town. Everyone thought he was mad leaving the West End but Anthony was sure Camden was on the up. To open a salon Anthony and his partner had to borrow money and they managed to get an 80% government loan to be paid back over 5 years. The salon, named Tusk, was a success from day one and the business proved to be so good they repaid the loan in 6 months! The décor for the salon was designed by another friend Carolyn Quartermaine who became and still is a top international designer. Anthony laughs when he remembers how they both rolled up their sleeves and slapped the paint on the walls with the enthusiasm of youth! A second salon was opened in Soho in St Anne’s Court next to a famous recording studio in the eighties.
Now, you might ask, how does a very successful hairdresser also become a very successful photographer? The answer is Anthony’s celebrity clients. The iconic photographers David Bailey and especially Terence Donovan became Anthony’s mentors. Terry loved the work Anthony showed him and which was on display in his salon. He took Anthony under his wing and encouraged him to go to a friend of his who was a photography agent. At that point photography was just a hobby that Anthony was happy to display and which people wanted to buy but he needed the confidence to take it further. Running his own salon meant that on occasions he was able to delegate work when he had the opportunity to watch David or Terence working and he used to help them set up for a shoot.
‘I basically picked their brains,’ admits Anthony. He was eager, young and really into learning as much as he could. He also credits his agent with being very shrewd. She got him jobs working on several charity campaigns for Parkinson’s Disease, Diabetes and Aids which saw his photos blown up on bill boards all over the country and his name became very well known in the advertising world. Over the last 20 years in the industry he has built up a reputation as one of the most prominent reportage photographers in the country.
After thirty or so years in London, Anthony and his wife Teresa made a decision to leave. They have been in Dartmouth for 10 years and he looks on his working life now as a reward for all his previous hard work. His salon is in Newcomen Road and his clients have followed him from far and wide. When he is offered and accepts a photography commission he will put on his answer machine and go but it is only ever for a few days. What he wants to concentrate on now though is taking his camera out and about and producing work for exhibition. It is his belief that photography is a fine art and he wants to get back to it.
Something we can look forward to is a 2010 calendar which Anthony will be photographing for Dartmouth Caring. It will be a ‘Celebration of Age’ with twelve well-known locals striking artistic poses – let’s just say they will be wearing little more than a blush!
Anthony’s parents and two brothers still live in Liverpool and of course he goes back to see them and also for the occasional Everton football match. He was amazed and fascinated to see how the centre of Liverpool was transformed into the 2008 City of Culture. What he remembers as wasteland now boasts wonderful shops, cafes and restaurants, museums and art galleries but would he go back to live?
‘I’m proud of being a Scouser but I love being in Dartmouth. It’s a very relaxing place and Teresa and I have made some great friends here. I’ve had and still have an enjoyable and interesting career and I’ve been lucky to have two strings to my bow. My hairdressing which is a labour of love and my photography which I aspire to in an artistic way.’
First published March 2009 By the Dart