This project was inspired by a portrait I took of my mother. Having persuaded her to come to my studio for a photo session, I was struck by just how white her hair had become. It made me think about the conversations we have around going grey - so many differing attitudes, to dye or not to dye, etc.
Janine Wood kindly agreed to be one of my models for this shoot. I asked her why she’d finally decided to embrace the grey: “I started getting grey hairs in my twenties and immediately began dyeing it. I fell into society's belief that grey hair means old, but I wasn't old in my twenties! My husband didn't like my dyed hair but I carried on, as I didn’t want to 'let myself go’. In 2018 I went to Switzerland to visit my niece, to whom I am very close. We talked about getting older, accepting who you are and not being defined by what others think. I decided then that I was going up to let my natural color shine.
I have never been happier with my hair. It is so liberating not to be a slave to coloring roots, worrying about the wind blowing and looking like a Belisha beacon. My hair is in much better condition and I love it. My husband thinks it is great and I have only had compliments (not that I care either way!). It’s a big decision to make but one of the best things I’ve done.”
I wanted to celebrate those of us, of all ages, who have embraced their grey. Some have gone grey in their twenties, some jump half in and half out, and some have simply realized that the expensive streaks in their blonde hair are no longer needed.
Violet Fenn, who also volunteered for the shoot, said: "Although I love my grey, I am never going to go gently into that good night and my hair certainly isn’t going to be allowed lead me there. I compromise by allowing it to grow out in a streak reminiscent of the heroines in my beloved classic horror movies - I’d rather look like the Bride of Frankenstein than mutton dressed as lamb."
It was such an inspiring gathering. Hearing the stories of their journey to grey and the new confidence it’s brought them have made me decide that, after 21 years of coloring my hair, I’m thinking of ditching the dye. This project has now become a community, a Facebook page and an ongoing project with more women coming to me for their portraits, some loving their grey and some still learning to embrace it but all of it a celebration.
More info: Facebook
"I compromise by allowing it to grow out in a streak reminiscent of the heroines in my beloved classic horror movies – I’d rather look like the Bride of Frankenstein than mutton dressed as lamb."
"By the time my blonde had grown out, the grey hair trend was in full swing and without it being my intention, my hair was was now right on trend."
"I have never been happier with my hair. It is so liberating not to be a slave to coloring roots."