At just 2 percent of the world's population, natural redheads are a rarity—and most commonly associated with Celtic countries like Scotland and Ireland. But while there is some validity to this—Scotland really does hold claim to the highest concentration of redheads, at 13 percent—the fact is that the MC1R gene mutation responsible for ginger hair has roots all over the globe. Photographer Michelle Marshall set out to illustrate this diversity in a stunning new project that challenges the notion that all redheads are white.
The series of portraits, titled MC1R, depicts redheads who are of mixed race or Afro-Caribbean descent. "I want to stir the perception most of us have of a redhead as a white Caucasian individual potentially of Celtic descent," Marshall told VSCO, where she debuted the project. "As we struggle with issues of immigration, discrimination, and racial prejudice, Mother Nature, meanwhile, follows its own course, embracing society’s plurality and, in the process, shaking up our perceptions about origins, ethnicity, and identity."
If nothing else, her images are a gorgeous celebration of individual beauty. Keep scrolling to see our favorites from the series.
The MC1R gene leaves redheads more susceptible to sensitive skin. Moisturize and protect your complexion with a hydrating SPF formula like Sunday Riley's Cashmere SPF 30+ Sun Defense ($125).
What do you think of Marshall's portraits? Tell us in the comments below!