The photograph can be one of the key crystallizers of a movement. You’ve got Jim Marshall’s images of Dylan and Hendrix, Allan Ginsberg’s Beat Memories, Bill Cunningham’s Manhattan runway shots. Having a series of pictures “about” a thing does something to officiate it, to root it more deeply in the public consciousness, especially when those photographs are particularly elegant and striking.
The growing natural hair movement (hey look, a pun!) has found its photographer in Baltimore’s own Glenford Nunez, the 25-year-old founder of TYP Photography Studio. Natural hair is basically a trend among black women favoring styles and cuts not designed around using chemical straighteners or relaxers on their hair. And it’s becoming popular fast – between 2010 and 2011 the number of black women not using products to chemically relax or straighten their hair jumped from 26 to 36 percent.
The politics of this are pretty nuanced and not really my place as a white dude to get into, but it’s cool to see some fluctuation in a fashion sense with beginnings as dubious as Afro-American hair straightening.
Nunez is working on what he calls “The Coiffure Project,” a collection of shots featuring black women in all their natural-curly-coiffed-haired beauty. He said he stumbled on the trend accidentally, but his pictures seemed to strike a chord so he ran with the idea. Thus far Nunez has photographed 10 women, and says he’s looking for more natural-haired subjects. So hey, if you’re in Baltimore and rocking some natural hair, maybe stroll by their Howard street offices.