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The Coiffure Project: Big, Bold and Beautiful

Glenford Nunez grabs attention with a new project featuring curly, glorious, natural hair

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All images ©Glenford Nunez

Some attention-grabbing projects are the product of brainstorming or countless hours of intentional artistic exploration. Others just emerge, almost by accident, from the casual creations an artist is already doing.

“The Coiffure Project” fits into the latter category, but it has taken on a life of its own ever since its conception by Baltimore-based fashion photographer Glenford Nunez. “The Coiffure Project” began as a series of cell phone pictures that Nunez captured of his assistant. The African-American woman wears her hair naturally, sporting a variety of large, curly arrangements, and Nunez started photographing a running series of her voluminous hairdos. “She is always around, so I was always photographing her,” he says. “After a while, I noticed that I was starting to accumulate a small collection. I had been trying to come up with ideas for a bigger project, and then suddenly it hit me; images featuring women with natural hair would be perfect.”

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Nunez was educated as a graphic designer and worked as a web developer before launching his own studio, TYP Photography Studio, when he was 24. He is a lifelong student of art who has been drawing for as long as he can remember. He considers the camera just another means of expression, like a paintbrush or a pencil. It’s part of him, part of what he does, so much so that he can’t clearly pinpoint when began photographing. “It’s just what I do, what I’ve always done,” he says.

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Professionally, however, Nunez is relatively new to the game. With barely two years in professional practice, he has already landed several prominent clients in New York and Los Angeles, though he conducts most of his shoots from his studio in Baltimore. Last fall, he shot New York Fashion Week for Pop Africana magazine and is now working with some additional high-profile media publications.  

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Though his professional practice continues to heat up, Nunez makes sure that he reserves plenty of time to pursue his personal artistic growth. In addition to his steady shooting schedule he sets aside time every month for personal projects. It was this dedication to personal art that produced “The Coiffure Project.”

Over the past several months, Nunez has conducted about a dozen shoot with women sporting natural hair, steadily building a collection of hair-focused portraits. "I’ve photographed models, friends and women I see walking down the street," he says. "There is a certain aesthetic that I’m looking for, a feeling and a style that I'm drawn to. If I find people who fit into that essence, it works."

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“The Coiffure Project" celebrates the beauty of black women and their voluminous, curly, natural hair styles. It also plays into the current trend toward naturally worn hair. This stylistic movement has been covered by The New York Times and other media outlets, and an increasing number of celebrities are going natural with their hair.

Ultimately, Nunez plans to produce an art book from the collection. The first exhibition of the work will appear at Silo Point in Baltimore on September 15. See more from the project at thecoiffureproject.com. Find Nunez online at typbaltimore.com.