Natural Hair Portrait Project: Call for Subjects

What is the project?

A series of portraits that celebrate Natural Hair and black skin in all their nuance and variety, firstly through capturing the diverse British community of contemporary Black and Mixed Race actors.

And then expanding to include people from all professions and walks of life in the UK.

I want to shoot with anyone (men, women, cis, trans, queer AND/OR Black qenderqueer / non-binary folks), with natural hair, locs, or on their loc journey.

Upcoming Shoot Days

The first shoot day is Tuesday 18th June 1.30pm-7.30pm

If you’d be interested in taking part, please get in touch to: michael@michaelwharleyphoto.com. I won’t use your email for anything else except helping you participate.

You are welcome to drop in at a time to suit, but please let me know roughly which slot you’d like to attend, to help me plan the afternoon:
1) 1.30pm-3.30pm

2) 3.30pm-5.30pm

3) 5.30pm-7.30pm

Why?

My eyes were opened to this issue by a number of actor clients. You can read about it here. As a photographer working in a visual, easily-made available, and very digestible medium, I wondered if I could try to make a small contribution to change through the power of positive representation.

Photos have such power to bypass the thinking brain – I hope we can create impactful photos to shine some light on an important topic.

Natural Hair Project: Background

What’s involved?

Drop in for 15-20 minutes to one of my shoot days at the Studio in Waterloo, right next to Lambeth North tube on the Bakerloo line in Zone 1.

Hair and makeup pros will be on hand to help you finesse your look. It isn’t a makeover, but they’ll be there to help.

For this shoot day, we will be working with Cher Savery (or someone from her team), an expert Afro-textured hair stylist, and Diana Hudson, a vastly experienced MUA who’s worked on Mary J. Blige’s tours and with none less than Oprah! In other words, you’ll be in safe hands.

What should I bring?

Yourself, a simple darkish or lightish top in a colour you like or an off the shoulder top.

I hate being photographed:

Me too, but I don’t bite, and we’ll take shots of you in quiet repose, rather than gurning or demonstrating. It should be quite relaxed.

Will I be paid?

This is not a fee-paying project – I invite people to collaborate with me because it is an issue that seems important and if they’d like to. It’s how I’ve run all my personal projects over the years. I understand that some people wouldn’t come and shoot on that basis, or feel that it is inappropriate. I couldn’t afford to do this on a fee paying basis.

Will I get a copy of the photo?

Of course, yes. The medium format camera we use means we won’t take lots of shots per person, but I’ll ask you to work with me to choose the shot we’d like to have edited and used as part of the project. I’ll share it with you in a high res form. You’re welcome to use it however you like.

What will you do with the images?

This is a non-commercial, personal project. I bear all the costs for the makeup/hair artists, and for retouching.

I will share a gallery of work on my website, and hope to arrange an exhibit or self-published book, in which case I’d tie up with a deserving charity for donations etc…

You would be invited, of course, to any exhibit or event.

I would not want to turn down the chance for the images to be seen widely and have more impact, but these images will not be used commercially.

I will clear the usage of images with all sitters involved, for each and every fresh use. ie if there is a new exhibition, I’ll check you’re happy to be in it. If I do self-publish, I’ll check you’re happy to be in any book.

Where is the studio?

Makespace Studios, Newnham Terrace, SE1 7DR. Right next to Lambeth North Tube (30 secs from station on the Bakerloo Line), and 8 minutes from Waterloo.

You’ve missed a trick, Michael:

I’ve tried to set up this project in a thoughtful and appropriate way. It has taken about year to get from inception to the point of shooting. I am aware this isn’t my story to own, and my main aim is to make a small contribution to positive social change through the power of imagery. Do read Natural Hair Project: Background too. If you feel there’s an angle I haven’t covered, or perspective it’d be worth considering, I’d be really grateful if you’d get in touch and give me the chance to incorporate it: michael@michaelwharleyphoto.com

Just to say…

The style and tone of these shots means they will not be headshots, so you are welcome to use them for professional acting purposes, but do understand that there might be a bit of purple gelled light in there, which isn’t everyone’s idea of a good headshot…