In his series Red, photographer Fabio Rodrigues photographs redheads with some unbelievably colorful natural hair. As a hair color that occurs in as little as one percent of the world’s population, redheads are a rarity, caused by a recessive gene which can skip generations.
Rodrigues documents the unusual hue on curly- and straight-haired people alike, creating a portrait series that reminds us just how incredibly weird human hair can be. More commonly occurring in people with fair skin, red hair has been both prized and ridiculed over time and across cultures; the notion that redheads are hot-tempered has been a strangely enduring stereotype.
In medieval times, red hair was associated with moral degeneracy, and even vampirism. Judas has often been depicted as red-haired, adding to the negative connotations around the color. Kids have been bullied for their red hair for centuries, and teasing of “gingers” persists today in countries where red hair is more common. At the same time, the Norse god Thor was also described as having red hair, and there’s no shortage of people dying their hair red. Red seems to be a hair color that inspires strong feelings in people.
Through a simple portrait series that captures a variety of fiery-haired men and women in the studio, Rodrigues’s photos show the reality of red hair, and the people lucky (or unlucky) enough to have it.