RAFAH, Gaza Strip — Palestinian barber Ramadan Adwan has found a fiery way to trim his client’s hair — if they are brave enough.
In his small shop in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Adwan uses careful application of open flames. His creative idea was born from Gaza’s frequent power cuts preventing him from using a dryer.
After cutting and combing, the barber applies what he calls “special” lotion and powder to client’s heads to protect their skin before using flames from an aerosol can to dry the wet hair.
“The experience strengthens the hair, but it’s not permanent as with chemical products. It’s just temporary to show a good and nice style,” he says.
News about Adwan’s hot method has spread across the Gaza Strip and some other barbers began imitating him.
He says applying “fiery” hairstyles requires great attention and experience that not all imitators possess.
The technique is yet another form of resilience displayed by Gaza’s 2 million residents, who are entering their 10th year under a blockade. Israel and Egypt imposed the measure after the Islamic militant group Hamas seized the territory in bloody street battles from forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Israel says it is meant to prevent Hamas from getting weapons. Critics condemn it as collective punishment.
AP photographer Khalil Hamra recently visited the barbershop for this photo essay.