A photographer told these black girls and boys to be themselves. These are the photos she took.

When Emily Stein moved into a new neighborhood in London, she saw beauty and creativity the likes of which she'd never seen before.

It was the beauty of the stunning, distinctive hairstyles of children from first and second generation West Indian and African families that caught her eye.

A portrait photographer, Stein was instantly drawn to the children and decided to photograph them for "Hairdo," her latest photo series.


Stein didn't pose or direct the children; she wanted them to feel as comfortable as possible and be themselves.

"I really wanted the images to feel like they were an expression of the children featured, so I encouraged them to do as they wished in front of the lens," she told Upworthy.

The kids took Stein up on her challenge, and it led to these outstanding photos:

All photos by Emily Stein, used with permission.

Bantu knots, fades, mohawks, cornrows, and box braids are highlighted in the carefree collection.

Their natural hairstyles are as playful, beautiful, and imaginative as the kids themselves.

Finding inspiration was easy. Finding kids to photograph required a little more legwork, quite literally.

Stein and her photography partner Celia West raced around London scouting charismatic kids with equally captivating hairstyles and explaining the project to their parents. The pair carried rolls of bright, candy-colored paper with them and taped up makeshift backgrounds to achieve 18 perfect, joy-filled shots.


This isn't Stein's first time working with young people. Children and the young at heart are some of her favorite subjects.

Her previous series "Girls Camp" captured girls at a sleep-away camp. And another, titled "Mississippi's Finest," explored a slice of life in the heart of the American South. Whether at home in London or abroad, Stein enjoys capturing kids in their natural state.

"There is an openness and honesty in teenagers and kids which I think draws me to them," she said.

The "Hairdo" series has only been out a few weeks, but it's already garnering lots of positive attention.

Stein's work was featured in the British Journal of Photography and has attracted attention from all around the world.

She's also turning the project into a small book. Next week, she's hosting an exhibition in London. Though the stars of the show won't be able to attend (the event is held a little past their bedtime), she's excited to showcase the images in a larger format.

"There is something in [the large prints] that makes the images and the children's presence more powerful," she said.

Here's to these fantastic, beautiful kids.

And to photographer Emily Stein for celebrating and sharing their delightful, playful personalities with the world.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less