Art and ginger hair – a discovery from National Redhead Day

Did you or any of your ginger-headed loved ones celebrate the UK’s Redhead Day, last weekend? Admittedly we did not have an official party or anything, but we did discover via the event the art of Michelle Marshall and specifically, her redhead-focussed photography project MC1R. In this ongoing series, the artist hopes to challenge the perception of redheads – “I want to stir the perception that most of us have of a ‘ginger’ person as a white caucasian individual potentially of Celtic descent,” she says.


The project’s name comes from the MC1R gene (Melanocortin 1 receptor), which is responsible for the varying shades of red hair. In order to inherit the gene, both parents need to be carriers. Yup Scotland does have, as you may have suspected, the highest percentage of gingers in the world. However, the mutation can be found around the globe in different cultures – researchers put the spread of the gene down to the European colonial periods in the Caribbean and South America.

Michelle wants to highlight the positive side of our modern multi-culture and has made it a mission to document people of black and mixed race heritage who have red hair and freckles.

the MC1R series




See many more gorgeous ginger subjects on Michelle Marshall’s website.

All photos courtesy of the artist.

Jill Macnair


Jill Macnair has worked as an interiors journalist for 13 years, contributing to titles including Elle Decoration, The Sunday Times and The Guardian. She set up cult interiors blog My Friend’s House in 2009 with Ros Anderson and continues to run the forum daily.

The Chromologist 2019 | Farrow & Ball

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