Contemplate about it. Around 1-2% of the world’s population boasts natural ruby-red mane, which is caused by a genetic mutation in the melanocortin-1 receptor, or MC1R ( this mutation is also able to explain their superpowers ).
Despite preparing up such a small percentage of specific populations, most of us have the same stereotypical likenes in our chiefs when we think about redheads: light-skinned, freckled white people with scrolls of flaming mane and a fiery nature to accord.
Aside from the obvious issue of ascribing a nature to person based on mane hue, there’s one other spooky resolution here: W hy do we think that all redheads are white ?
Photographer Michelle Marshall, a French-born, London-based photographer, spoke with Upworthy about the genesis of her campaign over email. Michelle had been working on a narration for a different photo campaign about freckles( another common decision of MC1R mutants ), when one day, she recognise an adorable freckled redheaded girlfriend and was stunned to be noted that the girl was of mixed-race background.
Michelle’s initial narration tone was rejected, but she couldn’t get this idea of pitch-black and biracial redheads out of her thinker. Chiefly, she was just curious as creators often are.
“Portrait photography allows me to study what I like, what I see in others that may be overlooked, ” she told Upworthy. “I examine each portrait as a series of distraction-free frames charged with an legitimacy of features, characters, peculiarity, quirks, and worth.”
“I am currently interested in documenting the incidence of the MC1R gene variant responsible for ruby-red mane and freckles, particularly amongst pitch-black/ motley raced individuals of all ages.”
“Whilst there there may be an underlying Irish/ Scottish connection to the MCR1 gene in the occurrence of ruby-red mane, does being ginger certainly still only restrict itself to being Scottish, Irish, Welsh, or even a white-hot Caucasian individual? ”
“As we struggle with issues of immigration, discrimination, and racial prejudice, Mother Nature, meanwhile, follows its own track, hugging society’s plurality and, in the process, shaking up our impressions about roots, ethnicity, and identity.”
“Scotland may well have the highest percentage of people with ruby-red mane in the world, yet statistics haven’t certainly caught up and do not seem to represent everyone.”
“I wish to create compelling likeness, a visual census representing our constantly changing society.”
As Michelle points out in her master affirmation, redheads are generally associated with Irish and Scottish peoples of Celtic ancestry( unlike the rest of the world, a whopping 13% of Scotland is ginger ). But sometimes that MC1R mutation can be passed down through generations from people of African or Caribbean ancestry, a detail that is likely due to the British slave trade under Cromwell (# ThanksColonialism) and has some kind of interesting ramifications for the ways we qualify race.
“A lot of[ my photo subjects] have been detecting quite isolated, ” Michelle said in an interview with Vice. “I got a message from one boy who said, ‘I didn’t realise there were so many of us’ I’ve not even shot 50 people. But the facts of the case that he was able to see a knot of people that accorded his identify and could relate to that is quite positive.”
That’s why it’s so important that we open our eyes and celebrate the diversity in the world. Not only does it encourage us to defy our own preconceived notions for example, by showing us that redheads don’t “ve got to be” white-hot but it also helps those people examine themselves( or helps us examine ourselves) represented in the world.