A new photography book, GLORY: Magical Visions of Black Beauty, aims to shatter conventional standards of beauty for Black children.
The book features over 100 photos of Black girls and boys from across the U.S., Europe and Africa, offering stunning images of natural Black hair and beauty; it also contains essays about the children.
As St. Martin’s Press, the book’s publisher, says, “Beauty as an expression of who you are is power. When we define our own standards or beauty, we take back that power. GLORY encourages children around the world to feel that power and harness it.”
Among the young female and male models are Sarah, a 15-year-old from Ghana, who plays for her school’s soccer team, helps her family harvest food on its farm and wants to be a teacher; Layla, a 13-year-old from Illinois, who has Type 1 diabetes, wears an insulin pump and hopes to become an Olympian in track and field; and Liam, a seven-year-old from Brooklyn, who is a professional model for Ralph Lauren, Target and J. Crew, an avid skater, bicyclist and swimmer, and an aspiring architect.
The book is by Kahran and Regis Bethencourt, an Atlanta-based couple whose CreativeSoul Photography specializes in child and lifestyle photography; it grew out of an AfroArt Instagram series the couple calls “a recognition and celebration of the versatility of Black hair and its innate beauty “ As Teen Vogue said several years ago, the Bethencourts are “on a mission to broaden the faces and possibilities of child photography, one gorgeous shoot at a time.” And, as they write in GLORY, “We didn’t just want to question traditional beauty standards—we wanted to shatter them.”
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Among those praising the book, published last month, are Jada Pinkett and Will Smith, Common and Alicia Keys. Pinkett Smith calls it “majestic,” while Common praises the “Baroque-inspired photography portraits that showcase Black girls and their natural hair,” and Keys cites the children’s “strength and vulnerability.”