10K80 by Tremain Prioleau February 23, 2021
CreativeSoul Photography is a portrait photography studio based in Atlanta, dedicated to capturing Black beauty in its essence. The studio was founded by married couple Regis and Kahran Bethencourt.
Representation through images is the most accessible way to engulf ourselves in aspects of culture. And, when it comes to how Black people are portrayed, a tradition of systemic racism has bled into the fabrics of Black images.
However, this centuries-old tradition is slowly being broken thanks to the efforts of Black creatives like those at CreativeSoul Photography. This Atlanta portrait photography studio is redefining Black beauty standards.
Regis and Kahran are the husband-and-wife duo that run CreativeSoul Photography — a portrait photography studio in Atlanta.
They met at an online graphics designer’s forum and went on photography dates where they would take pictures of each other.
Regis eventually went on to study photography and Kahran began to learn right by his side. The rest is history.
This co-education blossomed into the Atlanta portrait photography studio that they own today. It has resulted in over 10 years of work capturing the beautiful and natural essence of Black people.
For many Black kids around the world, their natural hair is frowned upon and seen as a negative physical trait.
But, this socialization extends far beyond childhood. Many adult Black men and women are also discriminated against in the workplace for wearing natural hairstyles.
The CROWN (Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural hair) Act passed in California in 2020.
The act prohibited discrimination based on hairstyle and texture for the first time in the country. It marked a landmark victory for people just trying to wear what they were given at birth.
Still, the duo at CreativeSoul Photography experienced the effect of this discrimination in their own work.
Kids looking to break into fashion would send photos of themselves to the studio with their natural hair, but then they would show up to the studio looking entirely different.
They would straighten their hair, thinking that they needed to have their hair that way in order to make it in the industry.
Regis and Kahran wanted to change that assumption.
Thus, the duo started to do photo shoots all around the world to capture Black kids with their natural hair.
This way, they not only created representation, but also incentivized acceptance from the kids and society as a whole of their hair.
CreativeSoul Photography’s mission is of empowerment and the pursuit of self-love.
When Black kids see themselves as beautiful, they act like it. CreativeSoul’s work is inspiring and giving confidence to a new generation because of this.
Much of CreativeSoul Photography’s latest work gives off the afro-futuristic aesthetic that has become popular in the mainstream.
In a post-Black Panther world, society is slowly catching up to seeing Black people in a positive and even royal light.
This Atlanta portrait photography studio centers its subjects behind dark-lit canvasses with the only light being the one that shines down on the main character of the photograph.
The kids in their recent photography book Glory, are shot not just with the proper touch and care that they deserve. They showcase them like royalty with luxurious garments, jewelry, and gold, while keeping their natural hair intact.
Any kid, or adult even, would look at this collection of photographs and be awestruck at the imagery. And then be encouraged to love themselves even more.
Regis and Kahran have built a portrait photography studio in Atlanta that defies the norms of society. They shout loudly through their art that Black is beautiful.
They are truly leading the change in creating a culture of self-love and acceptance.
Using photography as a medium to incentivize both kids and adults to embrace their culture.
Proving that society does not dictate who you have to be. The duo’s love extends farther beyond themselves. It’s clear that they truly love us all.
For more on CreativeSoul, check out their website here.