Are red-haired men beautiful, sexy, attractive, confident, strong and erotic? The photo series „RED HOT 100“ by Thomas Knights is showing 100 red-haired men to prove that they indeed are. The project aims to affect society. In a subtle yet seemingly effective way art and activism are interconnected. I have reviewed the photo book.
/ Browsing the catalogue /
At first glance the catalogue shows a number of men with bare torsos. Next to the photographs are the models names accompanied by a short or long statement from the respective model. Apart from gender and the fact that they are pictured in the catalogue those men share one additional commonality – red hair.
A story takes its course
The first page of the book addresses the development of RED HOT – a photo exhibition, which claims „to change the stereotypes of red-haired men“. In 2013 the media and bloggers became aware of the project and the #REDHOT movement was born. With this photo series Thomas Knights wants to fight prejudice against red-haired men and also raise awareness against bullying and discrimination.
Theoretical introduction | „GETTING HEATED“
The catalogue text „GETTING HEATED“ by author Jacky Colliss Harvey approaches the subject of red-haired men from the perspective of a redheaded woman. Harvey focuses on this sociological and cultural studies debate in her publication „Red: A History of the dedicated Redhead“.
The main act | Photo series
As already mentioned, the vast majority of the photo book consists of photographs of topless red-haired men. The males are shown in various poses, gestures and gaze directions on a blue-turquoise background. The statements of the respective men reveal early experiences of bullying, abuse and discrimination due to their red hair colour. Those negative experiences had an impact on the men’s confidence and lead to excessive confrontation with their appearance. Fortunately for most of the men this resulted in a form of self-love.
MC1R | The gene of the Exhibition
Tina Lasisi, BA Hons. describes in „THE RED HOT GENE“ the results of scientific research on preconditions for red hair.
In an Interview with Colin Gentry, Thomas Knights answers questions about the emergence of the project, the collaboration with the models and if in his opinion, the exhibition has succeeded to demonstrate that redheaded men are also attractive. The project has a great socially relevant aspect. Thomas Knights wants to evoke a discussion and promote a change in society’s view on red – haired individuals. Parts of the proceeds of the book and merchandise sales go to a project against bullying.
RED HOT 100. The 100 sexiest RED HOT guys in the world.
Editor: Thomas Knights
Photographs: Thomas Knights
Authors: Thomas Knights, Jacky Colliss Harvey, Tina Lasisi, Colin Gentry
Size: 26 x 34 cm
Pages: 144 Cover: Hardcover
Publishing: Bruno Gmünder GmbH, 2014
Price: 59,99 €
Photos: © Thomas Knights. Friendly courtesy of Thomas Knights.
Text: Victoria Windtner