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The Kinky Project celebrates the beauty of natural hair


While the natural hair journey can be a tedious one for many women, it’s a journey that is celebrated by photojournalist Torrell Glinton, who encourages women to embrace their roots.

That’s why he started The Kinky Project, a photo series highlighting the beauty of natural hair.

Nowadays many women are cutting off their processed tresses.

“I think that’s wonderful,” Glinton said. “I think it’s wonderful to be accepting of yourself as beautiful without having to go through some process.”

Glinton produced his first installment of The Kinky Project in 2014. That showcase featured photographs of 13 women in various phases of their natural hair journeys.

“I wanted to do a beauty series on something that I liked, and I noticed at the time that people were starting to embrace natural hair; I loved it, and I thought, ‘Why not?’

“The first time I was unsure how many people would be interested in being photographed or interested in collaborating with me.

“That time I was a little nervous about asking people and getting them to come out. But surprisingly, people submitted. And lots of people were accepting of the first series.”

Now, as he produces his fourth installment, Glinton said the nerves still haven’t completely dissipated.

“This year more people submitted than in any of the previous years,” Glinton said. “Now I’m more nervous than the first one, because I’m trying to live up to what I did with the first one and actually go beyond it.”

“Nappily Ever After”, a movie which challenges the standard of beauty, and the ‘Stay Woke’ movement have helped to spur reluctant women to begin their natural hair journeys.

However, Glinton’s project is not meant to shame women who prefer not to wear their natural hair.

“The Kinky Project began as a way to highlight and showcase the beauty of natural hair,” Glinton notes.

“In the years since the initial phase, the project’s impact has grown greatly and given me the opportunity to meet and collaborate with so many people that it’s not just about hair.

“It’s about helping to unify a people by reminding them that they are a beautiful people.”

This year he also shot 13 women, but he also added some men into the equation.

While he admitted that men are less open to being a part of the project, they are an important part of it.

To be selected for The Kinky Project, naturalistas must submit head shots to Glinton. From there, Glinton and a colleague determine which applicants will be chosen.

“We go through photos based on hair type, skin tones. We try to represent a wide array of people and people who have the ‘it’ factor.

“I always try to choose people who will bring more across than just a pretty smile.”

Through his project, Glinton said he wants to get people to love the skin (and hair) they were born with.

“Honestly, I just want people to continue to embrace the idea that we as a people are beautiful,” he continued.

“You can wear weave; you can straighten or perm your hair, but I don’t want people to think that their hair is less than. I want black people to embrace everything that is unique to them.

“The aim is for you to see yourself, when you look at the photos, and say, ‘Oh, I can wear that’.”

 Glinton said the most fulfilling moment of his journey came during his first year.

“I remember when I had the first show and somebody took their niece with them and her hair was done up in braids,” he recalled.

“When she saw a photo with one of the girls with an afro, she made her aunt style her hair in an afro right there and then in the art gallery.

“I felt proud. I didn’t know that my work could have that effect on somebody, and it was wonderful to see that I could inspire that generation.”

• Glinton will showcase his most recent installment of The Kinky Project sometime in January. You can view his work at @Instagram/tglintonphotography.

 

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