Tattooed skater Nasir Sobhani looks too hip to be a sincere do-gooder, but every week he works miracles on the streets of Melbourne, Australia. A professional barber, the 26-year-old spends his off days offering free haircuts and shaves to homeless clients.
“I have a few regular street clients to whom I give haircuts,” Sobhani tells Quartz. “The power of these haircuts lies in building connections with people who spend most of their time in isolation. It’s not very common for my street clients to make new friends.”
Now the subject of a 2015 PLGRM documentary called The Street Barber, Sobhani’s before and after photos can also be found on his Instagram feed.
Although he goes out looking for clients now, the first time Sobhani cut the hair of someone who really needed it was at the client’s request.
“For several years, I worked in a barber shop where a heroin addict used to wash the windows right outside,” recounts Sobhani. ”One day, he told me he had been off the drugs for a month, and that he wanted to get a haircut. His hair was very long and he had dirty dreadlocks in the back. So we sat down together and we shared our stories about our past, and I cut his hair. After I was done, he loved the way he looked.”
“At this point, I realized that I could help encourage change for this guy simply by doing what I already loved doing, and that maybe I should keep doing it.