Regis and Kahran Bethencourt are the dynamic husband and wife duo behind CreativeSoul Photography; and together, they've dedicated their artistic practice to celebrating unconventional beauty. Through stunning images in their AfroArt and Princess Series, they showcase natural Black hairstyles as their subjects dress in costumes including Baroque-era aesthetics and Disney-inspired royalty. Each uplifting portrait tells a story—one of the Bethencourts' greatest strengths—and is exemplified in their new book titled Glory: Magical Visions of Black Beauty.
Glory defies conventional standards of beauty for Black children through 100 awe-inspiring photographs and thoughtful essays about the kids pictured. “The book was started from our viral AfroArt series,” Kahran and Regis tell My Modern Met. “We decided to create this book to go a little deeper and highlight the stories behind the art. We traveled to various states in the U.S., to Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, and Europe to gather stories of kids across the African diaspora.”
The book is divided into three distinct sections: the past, present, and future. “In our work, it is important to pay homage to our past, document the present, and dream about (and showcase) our vision of the future,” they explain. “As we walk the reader through the journey of past, present, and future we tried to create looks and themes that were cohesive with the various time periods. Our unique portrait style and styling allows each section to stand out but fit with the overall theme of Glory.”
It was no small feat to bring this ambitious project to life. Fans of the photographers’ work will likely recognize some of the models in the book, but Kahran and Regis searched for even more “amazing kids with unique stories” in order to highlight artisans, scientists, activists, musicians, and more. “After getting to know a little about each child and their story, we developed a concept that showcased their story in a unique way,” they reveal. “We created mood boards to help give the team overall direction for the shoot. When working with hairstylists, we like to allow each stylist to add their own interpretation of the overall concept for the shoot. This allows us to push the limits of creativity and allows each artist to add their own special talents to the shoot.”
The resulting images and essays in Glory are powerful and sure to have an impact on readers. “We hope that readers will be able to see the beauty and diversity of Black kids across the African diaspora,” Kahran and Regis share. “We hope that kids viewing the book will be able to see themselves reflected in the stories included in the book and that it inspires them to overcome any obstacles they may face.”
Glory: Magical Visions of Black Beauty is published by St. Martin’s Press and is now available for purchase on Amazon.