National News

Local photographers changing way young girls see their natural hair

Posted May 18, 2018 12:05 p.m. EDT

— Two local photographers are changing the way young girls see their natural hair.

Through their Afro-Art series, a campaign which celebrates curls and other natural hairstyles, the owners of Creative Soul Photography are receiving worldwide recognition.

CBS46's Ashley Thompson was invited to a shoot.

in a boutique studio in west Midtown, 11-year-old Kimani McCrary gets ready for her royal wedding-themed photo shoot. She'll have the regal clothing and a little bit of lip gloss but the focus of the picture will be her natural hair.

"This is my first photo shoot for them," she tells Thompson.

Kahran and Regis Bethencourt started Creative Soul Photography in 2009, specializing in lifestyle and children's photography. In 2017 they launched their Afro-Art series, photographing children with natural hairstyles.

"A lot of times, specifically girls of color don't see themselves represented well in the media and so we wanted to do the Afro-Art series just to show just how beautiful natural hair can be," said Kahran.

At the studio, girls have their hair professionally styled. On Tuesday, it was the bigger the better.

After getting her hair done, Kimani slipped on a dress fit for a princess.

"My mom used to always tell me that your hair is a part of you so if you embrace your hair that it also is kind of embracing you," Kimani said.

The Afro-Art series has now gone viral. The pictures have been featured everywhere from Teen Vogue to BBC News.

"Once people started to see all the images come together and they saw how strong and powerful they were, then it really just took off," said Kahran.

Kimani said she loves her curls though she admits styling it can sometimes be a challenge.

"Yes, sometimes it does get a little hard because it's all over the place but I still love it so much and I wouldn't change a thing."

Not all young girls feel the same about their natural hair but flash by flash, Bethencourt is working to change their minds.

"This generation is becoming a little bit more empowered about their own curls and about their natural hair but there are still some struggles and so that's why we really want to show that it can be beautiful and you can look just as royal and regal as with any other style," Kahran said.

The Bethencourts just signed a book deal. They are working on creating a coffee table book, which will include pictures from their Afro-Art series.