The Barber of Birmingham is Robin Fryday’s Oscar-nominated documentary short. In 2008, the potential nomination of Barack Obama as the first African American president aroused a strong impulse to explore its impact on the aging Civil Rights activists in the South. Following a research trip to Alabama, Robin decided to capture the stories of those who fought for the right to vote in the 1960s. Her resulting film, The Barber of Birmingham, is about African American barber James Armstrong, his thoughts and his stories about the tumultuous era in the South. She collaborated with filmmaker Gail Dolgin on the film, which was honored as an entry into Sundance 2011.
Robin is also a still photographer. Born and raised in Chicago, she moved to California to raise her two children who have been the inspiration for her life’s work. Her career as a child photographer is linked to her commitment to use her work to help underprivileged children. She co-founded The Bay Area Heart Gallery, a collaboration between photographers and child adoption agencies and she has traveled to developing nations where her photographs were used to raise money for non-profit agencies that feed and educate the impoverished in Peru, India, Bhutan, and most recently, Haiti.