Ireland is famed for the high number of redheads. It's all thanks to our cloudy weather. Scientists believe that the lack of sunlight is the reason why a 10% of the Irish population has red-hair when the color is so rare in other parts of the world (only 2% of the world’s population has red hair).
Ireland has been home some of the world’s most iconic flame-haired figures, including Maureen O'Hara and George Bernard Shaw, but red-heads have not always been appreciated for their scarcity or their distinctiveness.
Now, however, a new magazine has been established to celebrate those with fiery locks from all over the world with the aim of changing how we view those with beautiful crimson hair.
Named MC1R, after the gene which causes red hair, the magazine is the first print magazine for redheads worldwide. Now in its third issue, the magazine was founded by Hamburg-based lighting design student (and redhead) Tristan Rodgers as an independent art and design magazine all about the culture of red hair.
Born in Downpatrick in Northern Ireland, Rodgers moved to Germany aged 10, although he still regularly returns to Ireland.
Speaking to fashion and contemporary culture magazine i-D, 30-year-old student Rodgers explained how the magazine began as a photography project for him and a few friends/fellow redheads. As more and more people joined, he decided to collect all their stories while taking photographs.
Once he had collected a number of stories, he became curious as to how much it would cost to publish them and quickly decided to start a crowdfunding campaign that enabled him to produce 1,600 copies of the first issue.
Through the magazine Rodgers has created a redhead movement. He is creating a positive vibe for redheaded artists by allowing them to be identified by their red hair in a positive way.
“I discovered that there's a big network of redheads emerging around the world, and I'm now a part of this movement. People really connect at redhead festivals; they share what they've made or their experiences – it's big, positive hype right now,” he told i-D.
“Some people argue that focusing on the hair itself is a paradoxical method, but if people are identified by the way they look, making work about it allows artists to represent themselves and create a positive feeling for everyone.
“Someone else in a different part of the world might have problems with his appearance, so creating something positive could help him find strength.”
Over the next few months he plans to visit many of the redhead conventions that take place around the world. His first stop is none other than our own Emerald Isle, famous for our Celtic red hair.
“The Irish Redhead Convention will be the first of many redhead festivals I'm going to visit this year.”
Rodgers will travel to the festival where he will meet artists as well as the Convention's founder Joleen Cronin to compile a special 16-20 page feature on Ireland's biggest redhead event.
“I discovered a strong art scene full of projects and events in the US, UK, Canada, the Netherlands, Southern Africa, Australia, Italy, Ireland, Israel and Germany.
“While there aren't overwhelming differences, I have noticed that in England, projects are more motivated to change society's negative vibe about redheads into something more positive,” he continued.
Plans for the future involve featuring some of the biggest artists who are making an impact on redhead culture right now, including Nurit Benchetrit from Israel who photographed about 200 redheads and Thomas Knights’ viral anti-bullying campaign of good-looking redhead men.
“There are so many established and emerging artists around the world, and that's why I created this magazine,” Rodgers concludes.
“I'd love to show all of their work and give them the space they need.”
You can find out more on MC1R here.
*Originally published August 2015.