Creating Children Portraits with Impact with Kahran & Regis Bethencourt
As artists, we’re constantly responding to the world around us. For years, we’ve photographed so many amazing kids that we felt needed a larger platform. We felt that for far too long we’ve seen a one-sided view of black culture, so it was important for us to share our own stories our own way. We decided to highlight the under-celebrated beauty of black culture that is rarely represented in its full glory.
We didn’t want to just question traditional standards of beauty—we wanted to shatter them. We wanted to create images that flew in the face of the established spectrum of acceptable standards of black beauty. Within each image, we wanted to tell a story of a people who for centuries were artists and artisans, strategists and intellectuals, warlords and warriors, kings and queens.
That is how the AfroArt series was born. At its heart, it is a recognition and celebration of the versatility of black hair and its innate beauty. The purpose of the series is to illustrate the story of our royal past, celebrate the glory of the here and now, and even dare to forecast the future. As we ventured more into this project, we learned that it was much bigger than hair. Each child has their own personality and talents that we want to highlight in each subject we photograph.
We are grateful to be able to work with Children Portraits around the world to tell their stories in our own unique way. We often say that we’re more than just photographers. We’ve made it our mission to empower kids of color around the world by showcasing their beauty, uniqueness and creativity. We believe that the first step to success is imagining it, so we like to use our work as a stepping stone in each child’s journey to success.
Let them dream
Before each shoot, we ask a single question of each child that we photograph: “If you could have the shoot of your dreams, what would it be?” This question alone has sparked some of our most creative shoots for Children Portraits. Kids have vivid imaginations and have no limits when it comes to their dreams. It allows us to really get creative while allowing them to live out their childhood dreams. We’ve had a superhero ballerina, a zebra princess, a fairytale lion, an African samurai warrior and more.