Lonely Planet Writer

A photographer is documenting the beauty of redheads around the world

For the past three years, Los Angeles photographer Brian Dowling has been working on a unique project that has seen him taking portraits of women with red hair in nearly 20 countries around the world.

Red Head Photography project
Eilis, photographed near a parking garage in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Image by Brian Dowling

Called, “Redhead Beauty”, the series aims to celebrate and document their diverse natural beauty, and has seen Brian travelling to destinations such as Ireland, Scotland, Russia, Australia, England, Ukraine, South Africa and The Netherlands.

A read head model in the Black Sea in Odessa, Ukrain taken by photogapher Brian Dowling
Alisha photographed in the Black Sea in Odessa, Ukraine. Image by Brian Dowling

Having worked as an entertainment photographer in Los Angeles, the idea began as a small Instagram project in which Brian shared images of celebrity redheads that he had shot for magazines and events. Then, while planning a trip to Ireland, the photographer reached out to Twitter to see if any potential models would be interested in meeting up and doing a shoot. “A university student named Aoife replied and we met in Dublin. We walked around the city for an hour snapping photos without any sort of plan, but that was the fun part for me. Then when I moved to Berlin and wanted to see various other European cities, this is what I did. I would meet up with someone from Instagram for 30-60 minutes and just walk around taking portraits and snapshots,” Brian told Lonely Planet Travel News.

Carmen, photographed in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Carmen, photographed in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Image by Brian Dowling

Brian said that the positive responses that the images got inspired him to continue, especially those from redheads themselves. “I started to get messages about bullying and notes about how my images made some people see their own red hair in a more positive way. So I decided to dedicate more time to this project and try to spread that message as much as possible. The project was done without make-up artists, special lighting, or excessive Photoshop. I wanted it to be obvious that these photos are real reflections of the models,” Brian said.

A redhead model Marina photographed in Moscow Russia in front of a purple mural
Marina, photographed in front of a mural by Eduardo Kobra in Moscow, Russia. Image by Brian Dowling

The series has now taken the form of a large photobook, which is currently being crowdfunded on Indiegogo. A limited run of 900 copies is being printed for shipping in the coming months, with 675 having already been pre-ordered through the site.