January 24, 2021

The Golden Thread That Connects People Beyond Borders

There are many traits in the human body that are rare and make us stand out in the crowd. One of these features is the natural red hair, which only 1-2% of people in the world posses. This trait is so unique and beautiful, but in some cases it’s also the opposite where people get bullied for being different. Although, we try to live in a world where we try to be more understanding of individuality, it is amazing to know that our DNA flows in all of us beyond borders, that we share some similar genes with every stranger we meet. Kieran Dodds it’s the photographer who brings prof for that.

The 39-year-old Scottish photographer,  has been traveling the world and capturing different people with one connecting trait—ginger hair. Ginger is what others call red hair, a spectrum incorporating orange and yellow and brown, an iridescent gold. He says that his project is not only for trying to find ginger haired people, but connecting them across political and cultural boundaries, using a rare golden thread.

More info: Instagram | kierandodds.com | Facebook | twitter.com | “Gingers” book

#1 Clockwise: Steven Mckay, Esther, Rebecca (Mother), Chloe, Lois And Abigail, Scotland

Kieran Dodds/Panos Pictures

“In 2014, Scotland voted on independence and I was considering the cliches of identity. I knew I was one of them, being pale and ginger, but very early on in the research process, I found that it is a global trait. Even Scotland, as the global capital, has 13% of people at most showing the hair color. There were two hot spots, it claimed, one in Scotland and Ireland that is confirmed by science—the Celtic Fringe. The other hot spot was in Russia that was confirmed by an anecdote.”

#2 Alexander Soued, Scotland, Born In 2011

Kieran Dodds/Panos Pictures

Being a ginger himself, Kieran has made interesting discoveries  about the ginger population in his 7-year long journey, and was amazed to learn that they can be found almost everywhere int he world, not only in the hot spots known to be populated by gingers, like Scotland and the Russian city of Perm.

“Our genes have traveled far across history even if we personally have not,” he says. This project was all self funded. He traveled in a lot of places trying to locate gingers, but in Scotland he notticed that you didn’t have to travel further. “One lad had an Indian great-grandfather and another had an Eastern European mother and Middle Eastern dad. He is Scottish, but his story expands our expectations of that narrow political term,”he explains.

#3 Sveta Ni, Russia, Born In 1996

Kieran Dodds/Panos Pictures

Sveta Ni, in particular, stood out as she said her father’s family line was originally from China. The oldest ginger gene mutation is traced to Central Asia with gingers in Western China, Afghanistan, and North Pakistan. There were a lot of stories that show how ginger people have moved across the world and settled in different places.

The photographer dedicated this book to his twin daughters, who have the last portrait in the book: “I want something for them to grow up and see they are part of something bigger, not merely an identity group but a group within the bigger family of humanity.”

#4 Jordan DeLeon, Jamaica, Born In 2016

Kieran Dodds/Panos Pictures

#5 Chris McCabe, Scotland
Kieran Dodds/Panos Pictures

#6 Randy Wong, Jamaica, Born In 1988 Kieran Dodds/Panos Pictures

#7 Pacey Young, Scotland Kieran Dodds/Panos Pictures

#8 Gilad Belkin, Israel, Born In 1988

Kieran Dodds/Panos Pictures

#9 Maya Duncan-Smith, Dundee, Scotland Kieran Dodds/Panos Pictures

#10 Photographer Kieran Dodds, Scotland, Born In 1980
Kieran Dodds/Panos Pictures

#11 Marteka Nembhard, Jamaica, Born In 2005
Kieran Dodds/Panos Pictures

#12 Lucy Fleming, Scotland, Born In 2005

Kieran Dodds/Panos Pictures

#13 Jamie Hallam, Scotland, Born In 2004 Kieran Dodds/Panos Pictures

#14 Photographer’s Daughters Izzy & Ada Dodds, Scotland
Kieran Dodds/Panos Pictures

#15 Nixie Connelly, Scotland

Kieran Dodds/Panos PicturesKieran Dodds/Panos Pictures