Jörg Köster's photographic portraits of redheads will be exhibited at Cork International Airport from March 7-31, 2016.Jörg Köster

An exhibition of photographic portraits celebrating the beauty of red hair is being held at Cork International Airport from March 7-31, 2016.

Jörg Köster, a Cork-based advertising, fashion, and food photographer, began the five-year project after developing an interest in red-haired subjects after shooting Irish clothing products for German catalogues. After a friend told him about the Irish Redhead Convention, a unique festival celebrating red hair that takes place every August in Crosshaven, Co Cork, he set up a photo studio at the event. Redheads were invited to get their portrait snapped for free at the festival, with proceeds from the sales of prints directly donated to the Irish Cancer Society. According to a press release on the photographic exhibition, the contribution to the charity has reached nearly €4,000 to date.

Köster, a German native, has now photographed over a thousand individual redheaded men, women, and children from all over the world and the project is ongoing.

Credit: Jörg Köster

Credit: Jörg Köster

“I am very excited to show a selection of my redhead portraits as large scale prints in a beautiful public space like Cork Airport,” said Köster. “In a world of digital perfection, we in the advertising business spend a lot of time manipulating images and distorting reality to create ‘flawless’ subjects.

“I wanted my portraits to be natural, spontaneous and pure. By using daylight and a grey backdrop I aimed to bring out the natural beauty of red hair and freckles, which for so long were considered to be a flaw.

“It has been a great experience to meet so many proud redheads, hear their stories and receive so many positive Facebook messages from all over the world.” he said.

Speaking about the exhibition, Kevin Cullinane, Head of Communications at Cork Airport, said: “With over 7,500 people per day expected through Cork Airport in March, this is an exciting project and wonderful local tourism event that we are delighted to be supporting.”   

“With Ireland at the forefront of global St. Patrick’s Day celebrations this month, we think this project embodies Irish culture and our people in a unique way.”

Credit: Jörg Köster

Credit: Jörg Köster

The exhibition of portraits, featuring the full color spectrum of red hair from strawberry blonde to flaming auburn, will officially open on Thursday, March 10th at 5.30pm with a reception and a visit from King and Queen of the Redheads Alan Reidy and Grainne Keena.

“There is such diversity amongst redheads, yet together there is an amazingly strong sense of community,” said Joleen Cronin, founder and event organizer of the Irish Redhead Convention. “This project captures the essence of this concept so beautifully and viewers will be enthralled by the details in the differences and the personalities that shine through in each portrait. After all, every ginger tells a story.”

Credit: Jörg Köster

Credit: Jörg Köster

Cronin has said that they would love to eventually bring the exhibition stateside to Boston or New York if they could find a host, and added they have long term plans to make a book of the portraits.

The Irish Redhead Convention will participate in Cork City’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations and are hosting a redhead-only “Foxy Float” in this year’s parade. For more information, visit redheadconvention.ie.

Red hair is the rarest hair color in the world, with only 0.6 percent of the global population having naturally red hues.