Red heads in focus in the Highlands
Red heads have come into focus at a new international photography festival which opens in the Highlands this months.
Kieran Dodds will show his “Gingers” series, which features portraits of everyday red heads from Russia and Scotland, at the Flow festival this month.
The photographer, now based in Edinburgh, said: “A lot of my clients are from overseas as they think we’re all white skinned and ginger. I wanted to use that cliche and show there is diversity in it.”
Dodds found that, alongwith Scotland, Russia was another big red head “hotspot” with a concentration of those with ginger hair living in the Upper Volga area.
After discovering one of the main cities was called Perm and that it sat roughly on the same line of latitude of Inverness, Dodds set to work.
The photographer added: “Perm is about the size of Glasgow - it is the biggest place you have never heard of. I thought it would be nice to connect Scotland and the west with Russia using red hair. At a time when Russia is still seen by many as the enemy, I wanted to show a commonality between us.”
Dodds, who also has red hair, used a fixer to gather together red heads in Perm with other groups congregating in Dundee and Inverness.
He added: “We do tend to think of Russia as one group of people but that is pretty ridiculous when you look at the genetic flow of the place. One of the women I photographed was born in Russia and her parents were from Europe and China.
“My time there really challenged me to see Russia in a different way.”
Dodds said the experience of having red hair was much the same in Scotland as in Russia.
He said: “Some of those I photographed thought that red hair was beautiful although the kids at school weren’t that keen.
“As people got older, they tended to love their hair more especially when they started to lose it, whether that be the colour or the hair itself.”
Dodds, 36, also found many similarities in the facial features of those photographed in Scotland and Russia.
Incredibly, the mother of two girls he photographed in Scotland came from Perm.
The mother of a young boy photographed in Inverness came from Eastern Europe and his father from the Middle East, Dodds added.
“The main thing I learned was to not assume that people were static. There was a great diversity in the people I photographed.”
The “Gingers” series will be on show at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery from September 8.
The Flow festival will feature work from photographers from Scotland, Norway, Finalnd, Iceland and beyond.
Work will be shown at nine venues across the North.
For more information, visit www.flowphotofest.co.uk