“Okay, now envision you’re at a sold out concert at Madison Square Garden! Get into it!” Keith instructed me from my friend Pri’s phone, snapping pictures. “Really be expressive!” I slammed my fingers on the keyboard and put on my best singing face. “Awesome, got it!”
This was my second time shooting with Keith Barraclough for Project Redhead. Keith Barraclough and Kate Lorenz are co-creators of the Redhead Project, which was originally conceived as a marketing tool for Keith’s advertising and editorial work, but turned into a labour of love and skill.
For Project Redhead, gingers are selected through an application process and have generally found the project through social media and personal references. In exchange for participating, redheads receive some images of their choosing. The project first began officially on February 18 2013, eight years ago (happy anniversary!)! And to date, Project Redhead has captured over 500 redheads in their own unique and special way!
For my first shoot we met in person in 2015. Keith, hailing from NYC, was out West for a work project and let me know he would be in San Francisco. We had a grand time, setting up location behind a pier in downtown San Francisco where I could gaze off at the Bay Bridge, while Keith shot some awesomely fierce photos with my ginger hair at the centre of it all. But for this second virtual shoot at the end of January 2021, it was a whole new concept.
When the pandemic hit, and with lockdowns and social distancing in full effect, Keith and Kate found themselves wondering how they could keep the project fresh and continuing. As many in the workplace shifted to remote and virtual work, so did they! Utilising the high quality of iPhone & iPad cameras, and an app called Clos, Keith and Kate realised it could be the solution they were looking for. They reached out to some previous redhead participants, including myself, and proved it to be a successful way to produce high-quality images and continue the mission to document redheads in their ginger glory.
“Let’s get some more shots outside.” I gathered up the ‘elements of me’ I wanted in the photo, things that personified me in this lockdown world – my flute, Nikon, a coffee mug, headphones, dumbbells, and a Ginger Parrot postcard (of course!) – and my friend Pri, acting as my director of photography, and we carried the Facetime call out to the patio. Once on the Facetime call, the Clos app we downloaded allowed Keith (with permission granted by us) access to control the camera. I don’t have an iPhone, so I enlisted the help of my friend, which was also beneficial to getting the desired camera angles and let me move around freely to model. From his studio in NYC, Keith would say, “Okay, now move the phone a little to the right”, all while he focused the camera, zoomed and snapped away.
The photos (we took upwards of 100) were downloaded into a Clos app database that Keith had access to right away. When we hung up the Facetime call, the connection and access to the phone was gone (because of end-to-end encryption). Keith had the images edited and returned to me the very same day. It was a photoshoot like no other and my very first ever virtual photoshoot – what a concept!
In order to be considered for the project, natural redheads should attend one of their webinars. After the webinar, Keith and Kate will send an application for you to join the project. If selected, you’ll have a blast showing off your ginger locks and also get some images from the shoot. If you’re involved, Keith says to bring/wear items that personify you, and consider locations that reflect the same.
‘The Redhead Project: Virtual’ has now launched and a few more webinars are in the pipeline, so don’t be dismayed! In fact, there is a free webinar this Saturday 13 February at 6pm UK time or 1pm ET, via Zoom. Otherwise, for future webinar sessions, head over to @redhead.project.virtual on Instagram or Facebook.