The Redheads Project – what is it?
Ever wanted to stop Redheads in the street and take pictures of them?
Stopping anyone in the street and asking to take their photograph is quite daunting, but Shane Shepherd is doing it in the name of Redhead art, and for that we salute you Shane! The Redheads Project caught our attention last week when we came across a website with a lot of pictures of Redheads, casual, charming and lovely. We got in touch with the website owner to ask what on earth he was up to, and Shane was only happy to oblige in an interview featured below. Don’t forget to share the post if you find it interesting and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your work?
I’m a Wedding & Portrait photographer based in Brisbane, Australia. I have a wife who is way too good looking for me and I have a daughter who is nearly two, called Frankie. I realised in high school I was maybe a little more ‘quirky’ than most people. Everyone has an inner geek, it’s my mission in life to capture that on a camera.
What IS the Redheads Project?
Essentially, it is my first major personal body of work to photograph as many redheads as I can within a twelve month period. I work as a wedding photographer so this was an attempt to push me out of my comfort zone.
The project is less about ‘me’ as the photographer and more about the people I photograph. I approach redheads at random on the street and ask to take their photo. I then ask for a short story about their experience having red hair. I feel that the popularity with the REDHEADS PROJECT has been because people have responded to the human element/stories, the fact that the people I photograph have red hair is just a nice visual aesthetic.
I’ve set myself some ground rules – 1. Approach every Redhead I see and ask to take their photo 2. They must be a genuine redhead 3. No short-cuts, no mass call outs, I photograph strangers one by one on the streets.
Why/how did it start? Did you have a ‘light bulb’ moment?
I had the concept about 9 months ago. It was a ‘spark’ of an idea that I sat on for quite a while before I realised that there was no reason why I couldn’t just approach redheads on the street. I am a big believer in never letting yourself become too settled, we need to stretch ourselves, go further, think different, embrace the chaos of life so to speak. A lot of our lives are spent trying to construct a reality that gives us security and as a result we seem to take less risks. The fact that the REDHEADS concept scared me (approaching strangers) meant that I had to do it. The amount of amazing people and friends I’ve made from doing this has been awesome.
Have you experienced any challenges so far and what have they been?
The only challenges has been seeing other people struggle with their own confidence, and therefore willingness to be a part of the project. It’s a shame when you can see someone want to say ‘yes’ and but fear holds them back. I also get pretty weird looks from people when I walk up to them and start talking about what I’m doing!
Have you noticed any similarities between the redheads that you have met?
Yes, most redheads love their hair color but pretty much all of them are used to being picked on and have pretty thick skin. One girl’s boyfriend paid her out the whole time I was taking photos of her, I wanted to tell the guy to shut up and give her a break. It just wasn’t that funny. I felt for her.
Do you have any favourite red haired celebs?
More to the point, I’d love to have Tim Minchin in on the project.
Have you noticed more Redheads since you started the project? (some of my friends say they see redheads everywhere since I started the website)
Yes, I see redheads constantly – I can’t switch it off.
Do you need any help on any aspect of the Project? Perhaps to get the word out?
To be honest, no. I’ve had major radio and newspapers approach me wanting to cover it. This particular (national) radio station wanted to follow me around one morning while I was shooting redheads for their breakfast show. The thing is, there is no structure to what I do with the project. I’ve had nearly a hundred emails from redheads wanting to be involved as well but to me these things are a distraction to what makes it special. It has to be hard, no shortcuts, I just do my thing and let it be organic. The awkwardness is all part of the fun!
How can someone get involved with the project?
It would be unlikely that someone could ‘get involved’ because of my last answer. That being said, if there was a redhead out there who had CRAZY red hair or were really different in some way I’d be open to it.
What do you have left to do for the photobook to be completed?
I’ve got at least another eighty more redheads to photograph yet and another 10 months to go – it’s still early days. I am researching publishing houses at the moment, can’t wait to see this book completed!
Want to follow the Redheads Project?
Shane Shepherd can be found at www.shaneshepherd.com where there are more details on the Redheads Project and current pictures.
Let us know your thought and share your amazing picture of Redheads in the comments below! If you like it, ‘like it’ and share it with your tweeps.