Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Minnesota Faces: Beauty shop portraits April 10, 2015

Portraits # 16 and 17: Charlotte and Fonzie

Charlotte Lurken

Charlotte Lurken

Typically, I would not enter a salon unless in need of a hair cut.

But it was the “gifts” part of Colleen’s Salon & Gifts on West Concord’s main drag that drew me into her shop in the summer of 2011.

Colleen Snaza's dog, Fonzie

Colleen Snaza’s dog, Fonzie

And therein I photographed Charlotte and Fonzie, whose portraits stand as favorites among the thousands of images I’ve shot through the years.

I captured a slice of small town life. A place, a woman, a dog. Ordinary. Yet extraordinary. It is the everyday that matters most to me as a photographer.

Even now, year’s after taking these portraits, I still like to study them, to focus on the details—the smile on Charlotte’s face as her eyes linger on Fonzie, whom I dubbed “The Beauty Shop Dog;” Charlotte’s polished toenails; the messy stashes of magazines and tilted hairstyling books; the puzzle of floor coverings; the woman’s tennis shoe poking into the scene on the left…

There’s so much to see, and appreciate.

Colleen may call this a “salon.” But to me, this will always be a beauty shop. For this place defines beauty, small town style.


This is part of a series, Minnesota Faces, featured every Friday on Minnesota Prairie Roots.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling