BY BRYAN CHAN AND MARIJA SAVIC
Light streams through the glass windows and the panels of cream-coloured curtains hanging from the wall, the room is tinged with a dusty yellow light, the warm glow of a nostalgia. We seem to have gone back in time to the robust 80s, looking through the lens of an old Kodak camera, the analog colours of green, red and gold colouring our vision whole. We see the world through filmic grains, a static glimpse into a time that no longer is but somehow lingers on between these four walls.
Music plays from speakers somewhere in the clutter of the room, streaming songs from an old radio station that still clings onto the airwaves. They are simple songs from simpler times, cheery old tunes of wistful loves and countryside longing. The air is cool, sweet and musty at once, the layered scent of shaving cream and elderly skin, masking over the staleness of coolant spewing from the back of the room air conditioner. Like all the other inhabitants in the room, they are long past their golden days.
The clunks of chairs that line the centre of the shop are a statement from those times. Large, metal and hardy, things then were built to last. Apart from some rust on its bones and patina on its plates, there is not much sign of weariness. The old walls and doors are hanging in there, a little faded but otherwise okay. The porcelain sinks and silver mirrors have taken on aged spots, but they still do their job just fine. Time has been kind on all of them, ageing them fine like wine in a cellar room. Anywhere else and they would be trash or vintage, but here in the old barbershop, they are right at home.
A silver-haired matriarch sits on a throne watching the door of the room. Beside her is a paper calendar that hangs on a chipping wall. It has been placed and replaced more than forty times over the course of her life. Her wrinkled face and thin lips tell about the years that have gone by. She has seen many come through those doors. Boys have become men, men have become old, some of them have greyed and some of them have gone. She runs the place with an army of five men, all of them barbers in their own right. They take turns as the customers come, holding the fort and making its keep.
Life has favoured this aged place, granting it grace with an easy pace, and though its golden days are gone, its time is not quite over yet. The shop never once empties, nor does it overcrowd, time lets it have its way about. Customers come at the right moment, none too late and none too soon. The barbers move in a cool and steady flow, like that on a quiet evening stroll. They take their own sweet time, sauntering along the aisle of chairs; savouring the last of their fading line, cutting off and snipping hair.
There is a feeling that places like this will never go, even if the walls may crumble and their keepers pass. They live on quietly in our hearts and minds, not saying a word and not doing a thing. It is a faint whiff that hangs around, the aching memory of a lost recipe. It plays on our heartstrings, holding us hostage to its nostalgia and longing. Maybe it serves as a mirror for us to check ourselves, a wayfinder of sort to let us know where we are. To let us see if we have gone forward or back, and if the latter, it helps us find our way again.
Bryan Chan and Marija Savic are a husband and wife team of visual and narrative storytellers. Marija is a lifestyle and travel photographer from Serbia (www.marijasavicphotography.com), and Bryan is a copywriter for ethical businesses from Singapore (www.wordsbychan.com). The two first met in India under unlikely circumstances which resulted in an Indian wedding exactly a year after. They now base themselves in Ubud, Bali where they freelance their craft and relish in the town’s plant-based delights. For more of their work follow them on Instagram at @nowhere.stories and @my.wander.diary
Bryan Chan 和 Marija Savic 是一对用视觉与文字讲故事的夫妇。Marija 是一位来自塞比亚的生活方式与旅行摄影师（www.marijasavicphotography.com），Bryan 则是来自新加坡的自由贸易与商务广告撰稿人（www.wordsbychan.com）。两位初次在印度奇迹般偶遇，一年后又回到印度结婚。现在居住于巴厘岛的乌布德(Ubud)，在这里作为自由职业者，享受这座被植物环绕的城市的美好。在 Instagram 关注 @nowhere.stories 和 @my.wander.diary，了解更多关于他们的信息。