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These Portraits Rejoice the Historical past of Black Hair Kinds

Regis and Kahran Bethencourt of Inventive Soul Images have shot a collection celebrating the historical past of Black hairstyles from the top of the 19th century to the current… and even predicting the longer term.

This undertaking took place as a collaboration between the Madam Walker Legacy Middle in Indianapolis, Indiana, and the Bethencourts’ studio. Madam CJ Walker was born in 1867 on a Delta, Louisiana, plantation to enslaved individuals. She reworked herself from a farm laborer and laundress into the first feminine self-made millionaire in America, as famous within the Guinness E book of World Data. Her wealth was generated by creating and advertising and marketing a line of cosmetics and hair care merchandise for black girls.

Madam C.J. Walker, the primary self-made U.S. lady millionaire of any race.

The Hair Care Legacy of the First Black Millionaire Lady

“We considered [Walker’s] legacy and impression on black hair care around the globe,” Kahran Bethencourt tells PetaPixel. “She constructed a global magnificence enterprise that had 25,000 energetic gross sales brokers by 1919.

“We determined to take a journey of black hair by means of the eyes of Madam CJ Walker. We are able to’t assist however assume that if she have been nonetheless alive at present, she could be so pleased with how she spearheaded an period of Black girls turning into empowered and believing that they may aspire to wealth and financial prosperity.”


The Bethencourts, a husband/spouse crew from Atlanta, GA, are well-known for creating African-American Princesses Collection, Afro Artwork Collection and World Tour.

Eighteen Nineties

The Atlanta couple thought concerning the legacy of the Black hair care merchandise that Madam Walker pioneered and determined to do a historic evaluate of Black hair by means of the previous from post-slavery to fashionable instances and even past.

Nineteen Sixties

The world-renowned youngster photographers labored with mannequin Kendall Xenia Lowe and hair and make-up artist Keondra Renee to create portraits of Black hair tendencies.


“This shoot was truly a response to a casting contest for the Madam CJ Walker Legacy Middle,” the Bethencourts say. “We requested children to submit movies about what Madam CJ Walker’s legacy meant to them. We beloved Kendall’s video and chosen her for the shoot. The competition was restricted to children in Indianapolis, Indiana [where @walkertheatre is located].”

Taking pictures the Collection in Simply One Day

The whole collection was shot in August 2021 in Indianapolis on the Middle on a single day.

“The whole session was round 6 to 7 hours with breaks in between,” says the gifted photographer. “Every coiffure took about 30 to 40 minutes to create.


“I used to be extra enthusiastic about this undertaking due to my journey with pure hair over time,” Kahran says. “This shoot jogged my memory of all of the kinds I’ve had over time and my relationship with my very own pure hair.”

Nineteen Nineties

They got here up with the concepts for every coiffure based mostly on analysis of assorted kinds over the a long time. Many are from her “personal recollections,” and others by photos from every decade.


The Bethencourt duo are Canon Explorers of Mild and shot the collection on the Canon R5, Canon 28-70 f/2 L with Profoto B10 strobes.

As artists, we’re consistently responding to the world round us. We don’t need to simply query conventional requirements of magnificence — we need to shatter them. — Regis and Kahran Bethencourt

“The beauty of this undertaking is that many of the work was performed in-camera, so little or no post-processing was wanted,” says the Bethencourts. “We clearly cleaned up the hairstyles to ensure every little thing seemed easy, however for probably the most half, our post-processing was minimal.”

The Future

Inventive Soul Images began in 2009 when Regis Bethencourt determined to go to high school for images. Kahran “realized with him,” and so they began their enterprise whereas he was nonetheless in class.

You may see extra of the Bethencourts’ work on their web site and Instagram.

Concerning the creator: Phil Mistry is a photographer and instructor based mostly in Atlanta, GA. He began one of many first digital digicam lessons in New York Metropolis at The Worldwide Middle of Images within the 90s. He was the director and instructor for Sony/In style Images journal’s Digital Days Workshops. You may attain him right here.

Picture credit: All pictures by Regis and Kahran Bethencourt at Inventive Soul Images

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