This article written by one of my clients–Cheri’ Kinney, the owner of Hair, Body and Sole Salon and Spa in Apex–unveils the secret culture many of today’s teens live in. If you have a teenage daughter, or will soon have one, I feel this article is important to read. You can access the photos referenced in the press release at www.hairbodyandsolespa.com.
Apex, a sleepy little town in North Carolina is known for its southern hospitality, slow pace and Money Magazine’s 2007 14th-place ranking of it as the best place to raise a family. It’s not necessarily a place one would associate with fashion—or controversy. But Cheri’ Kinney, Owner of Hair, Body & Sole Salon and Spa, has brought both to her latest photo shoot.
Splitting time “behind the chair” and running a day spa keeps this feisty redhead busy enough, but Kinney also likes to release a collection of photos at least once a year. She says it “keeps the creative juice flowing.”
Kinney’s latest collection focuses on what she believes will be in style during the coming season. “Fashion always reflects what is happening in the world. We are dealing with a lot of unknowns right now with the conflict in the Middle East, the war in Iraq, a new president, and the economy—all of which create uncertainty,” Kinney says. “I believe people will be trying to simplify their lives and will seek out fashion and hairstyles which are simple and subtle.”
“Spring and fall always usher in the blondes, but I believe this year will be a more harmonious blend of shades—a little removed from the color blocking we have seen in recent years or the overly contrasting looks that can appear striped and bold,” she says. “Brunettes will have shades of warm browns and reds next to cooler shades, which would seemingly contrast but actually make the jewel tones stand out more. Bright and edgy colors are always in fashion, but this year they will probably be contained to a focal point instead of being all over color. And finally, colors not usually found in nature will become more mainstreamed but in subtle and blended ways.”
But Kinney’s recent photo shoot also showcases more than just upcoming hair color and style trends. All of the models are teens, and all of the photos convey a somewhat shocking message.
“I see teenagers and their mothers all the time,” Kinney says. “The mothers think their kids are not getting into any ‘real trouble’ and the kids think their parents do not know [that they are]. Popular television shows like ‘The Secret Life of the American Teenager’ along with the recent increase of teen violence in schools are a clear indication that we do not always know what our children are involved in.”
“I wanted to do a photo shoot that carried the message that teenagers are dealing with a world that moves much faster than it did in previous generations. The issues teens have to deal with are complex and frightening. The ‘situational’ photos deal with prescription drug trafficking, cutting, body image, teen pregnancy and living in a culture of excess. These are not by any means all of the problems facing kids today, I just wanted to use my photos to highlight a handful of them. The pictures can be disturbing. These issues are raw and real, and it is not just happening to someone else’s child.”
Kinney says she in no way wants to romanticize the issues these pictures represent, just bring attention to them and create a common ground to perhaps start a conversation. “These are the things that are happening that we don’t like to talk about,” she says.
So what do these photos have to do with hair? And why release something so controversial? Fashion mirrors culture. “In 2001, after the World Trade Center towers were attacked, almost every designer released something that included camouflage,” Kinney says. “The late 1980s and early 1990s revealed numerous signs of the drug culture during that time—with models showing visual characteristics of heroin addictions and other issues.”
Teenagers are struggling to find their own identity. Pop culture is where they look for role models. Parents have less impact than their peers. Singer Lily Allen’s song “The Fear” speaks directly to the pressure many teens feel to achieve both independence and perfect bodies, as referenced in these lines: “Life’s about film stars and less about mothers … Now I’m not a saint but I’m not a sinner. Now everything is cool as long as I’m getting thinner.” (You can listen to the entire song at http://www.metrolyrics.com/the-fear-lyrics-lily-allen.html.)
“What I do is hair, but I see these things playing out in the lives of many families,” Kinney says. “Even if kids are not involved themselves, they have a friend or know someone who is. These issues cross all racial and socioeconomic boundaries. I have some personal experience with more than one of the scenarios depicted and felt compelled to bring attention to them.”
It’s important to note that the models in these photos do not engage in the scenarios they depict, with the exceptions of the pregnant teen, who is actually pregnant, and the cutter, who does in fact cut herself. An expanded collection of ‘Teen Angst’ images will be displayed in the upstairs gallery at the Halle Cultural Arts Center in Historic Downtown Apex beginning in April.
To view additional photos from this collection, visit www.hairbodyandsolespa.com. All photos were taken by photographer Anne Clay, whose work can be viewed online at http://www.anneclay.com. To request a higher resolution image, email Anne at firstname.lastname@example.org. Makeup was done by Ashley Bromirski, who can be reached at email@example.com. None of these photos would have been possible without their collaboration.