Hair raising calendar benefits prostate cancer research
It’s officially Movember, and no, that’s not a typo. “Movember” is what some call November, while others simply refer to it as “no-shave November.” Regardless of the name, the purpose is the same: men go without shaving for the entire month to raise awareness for male-specific cancers, like prostate cancer.
Ricky Chapman, a Warwick native, has partnered with Movember, a movement to help raise fund for prostate cancer research. Chapman, a professional photographer, has shot a Moustache Calendar for the past three years, and decided to put the proceeds to good use.
Back in 2004, Chapman and a friend decided to create the first ever moustache calendar. Chapman was in college and needed extra money for a trip, and he though the creative project would be a great way to raise funds.
“Somehow, it worked,” he said.
Years later, Chapman became involved with the Rhode Island School of Design, where his wife was a student. In 2009, he decided to revive the moustache calendar idea, and this time, utilized the help and creativity of a few RISD students.
“It was a simple idea: moustaches are fun,” he said, “And they’ve been pretty popular as of late. But a lot of the stuff out there has been playing more of a joke on [moustaches]. The approach of the project was more serious; a fine art perspective.”
In 2009, they created a calendar for 2010 called “SexConfident,” because as Chapman explained, “moustaches make you sexy and confident.” The 2011 calendar was called “Most Wanted,” because “moustaches make you wanted.” The 2011 calendar included various mug shots and “wanted” posters.
This year, Chapman partnered again with Matt Cavallaro, a recent RISD grad, and two other RISD alums, to take the calendar up a notch.
In April, they traveled to London for two and a half weeks to shoot the 2012 calendar, and collaborated with designers and brands for their photo shoot. They also worked with musicians and athletes famous in the U.K.
“We wanted to do something different,” said Chapman of venturing to London, “We wanted to go outside of [Rhode Island] and give it the best chance to grab onto a long term group of people.”
The international shoot also meant international appeal, and the calendar will be printed in the U.S. and the U.K. and has already garnered attention from other European countries.
Chapman said the moustache is a much bigger phenomenon in the U.K. than in the U.S. While on location in London, he said people would stop and thank him for capturing a “true English gentlemen.” Others would shake the hand of the moustachioed model being photographed and express their gratitude for their work.
The charity Chapman is working with, Movember, is located in the United States and the United Kingdom, but was born out Australia. It began as a small group of men who decided to partake in “no-shave November” by growing a “mo” or moustache. They wanted to take things further and started the charity, which has grown to gain international recognition. Men who wish to partake in “no-shave November” can register on the Movember website, www.Movember.com.
All of the net profits from the sales of the Chapman’s 2012 calendar, entitled “The Very Best” will go towards prostate cancer research.
Calendars can be purchased online at www.TheMoustacheCalendar.com; at Symposium Books in Downtown Providence and on Thayer Street; and at RISD Works and the RISD store.
Chapman said the same amount will be donated to the cause regardless of whether the book is purchased online or in a store.
Chapman said he won’t be participating in “no-shave November” personally this year, because traditionally, men shave at the beginning of the month, and then go for 30 days without doing so again.
“I have a rather substantial moustache all the time,” he laughed, “I’m not ready to shave it yet.”