23 February 2016
By Bryan T. Smyth
Historically subjected to witty taunts from ‘ginger nut’ to ‘carrot top’, red hair is being celebrated in a new exhibition of of captivating photographic portraits at Cork International Airport from March 7-31, 2016.
Photographer Jörg Köster has snapped over a thousand individual red haired men, women and children for this portrait project, which features the full colour spectrum, ranging from strawberry blonde to flaming auburn. Red hair is the rarest of all hair colours in the world, and only 0.6% of the global population have naturally red hues.
The ongoing photography project began five years ago when Jörg Köster, a Cork based advertising, fashion and food photographer by profession developed an interest in redheaded subjects after shooting Irish clothing products for German catalogues. Having started his redhead portfolio, a friend alerted him to the Irish Redhead Convention, a whacky festival which celebrates everything about red hair that takes place in Crosshaven, Co. Cork each August. The organisers welcomed him on board, and the German native set up a photo studio at the event, allowing him the opportunity to photograph hundreds of redheads, a project which would have taken decades had it not been for the usual ginger gathering and one of Ireland’s most unique festivals. His portfolio now documents gingers of all ages and from all corners of the globe who have attended the world-famous freckle fest. Redheads were invited to get their portrait for free, while proceeds from the sales of prints were directly donated to the Irish Cancer Society, a contribution which has amounted to almost € 4,000 to the national charity to date.
“ I am very excited to show a selection of my redhead portraits as large scale prints in a beautiful public space like Cork Airport. In a world of digital perfection, we in the advertising business spend a lot of time manipulating images and distorting reality to create “flawless” subjects.
I wanted my portraits to be natural, spontaneous and pure. By using daylight and a grey backdrop I aimed to bring out the natural beauty of red hair and freckles, which for so long were considered to be a flaw.
It has been a great experience to meet so many proud redheads, hear their stories and receive so many positive facebook messages from all over the world.” says Jörg
“There is such diversity amongst redheads, yet together there is an amazingly strong sense of community” explains Joleen Cronin, Irish Redhead Convention founder and event organiser. “This project captures the essence of this concept so beautifully and viewers will be enthralled by the details in the differences and the personalities that shine through in each portrait. After all, every ginger tells a story.”
“With over 7,500 people per day expected through Cork Airport in March, this is an exciting project and wonderful local tourism event that we are delighted to be supporting” explains Kevin Cullinane, Head of Communications at Cork Airport. “With Ireland at the forefront of global St. Patrick’s Day celebrations this month, we think this project embodies Irish culture and our people in a unique way”
Cork Airport is the international gateway to the South of Ireland and is uniquely positioned at the start of the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Ancient East. It is the country’s second largest and busiest international airport with more choice of routes than any other airport outside of Dublin. More than 2 million passengers travel through the airport each year, flying to top destinations across the UK and throughout continental Europe. Cork Airport’s customer service (as voted by passengers) has won national and international awards.
The exhibition will officially open on Thursday, March 10th at 5.30pm with a reception and a visit from King and Queen of the Redheads Alan Reidy and Grainne Keena.
The Irish Redhead Convention will also feature in the Cork City St Patrick’s Day celebrations and redheads of all ages are invited to join the ginger loving group and take part in the colourful parade. To find out more and sign up to be a part of the group’s “Foxy Float”, visit redheadconvention.ie