A stream of women, along with a sprinkling of men, all adorned with afros of all shapes, sizes, textures and colors shuffled into Oyin Handmade, a natural hair product shop, on Sept. 16 for a celebration of natural hair.
The crowd creating an audible buzz outside the Charles Village storefront was for a book signing celebrating the publishing of The Coiffure Project,” a portfolio of photos of natural hair by 26-year-old local photographer Glenford Nunez.
Jamyla Bennu, owner of Oyin Handmade, said Nunez was the perfect person to partner with because he was local and working to highlight the beauty of natural hair.
“In his work he showcases the beauty and versatility of natural hair… We also wanted to celebrate his localness,” Bennu told the AFRO in a recent interview. “We love Glenford.”
Nunez’s coffee table book of almost 100 pages, which retails for $25 on Amazon, contains photos of women from New York, Baltimore and Atlanta and as far away as Australia, sporting long and short coily natural hair.
Using old school hardware and new wave technology, Nunez said he shot the photos using a Nikon D700 camera and his EVO LTE 4G cell phone.
“He brings a fashion photography aesthetic to celebration of natural hair,” said Bennu. “Typically we see 'selfies' and people documenting themselves on Instagram and YouTube, but it’s nice to see an editorial eye on the subject.”
Nunez said his natural hair portfolio is not just a celebration of natural hair, but a celebration of self and self-worth.
“It’s not about the hair for me,” said Nunez. “It’s about embracing yourself for your own sanity. You can make yourself crazy worrying about other people. You have to learn to be comfortable with yourself.”
During the event, Nunez sold and autographed copies of his book and a collector’s edition photograph from the book.
Oyin Handmade also showcased one of their newest styling and moisturizing products, Boing, retailing for $14.99 for a 4-ounce jar. The first 20 attendees who RSVP’d for the event received free samples of the product.
“We’re really excited about this product because it’s customizable and it smells like pears,” said Bennu. “It’s a little bit of a stronger hold than our Shine and Define and can be used by people of all hair types.”
Morgan Glaze, 22, a Baltimore-based graphic designer who attended the event, said she has been a fan of Nunez’s work for a few years.
“I had been following him for years,” said Glaze. “I saw one of his natural hair pics and I had to find him.”
Glaze, who has been natural since her junior year of high school, said she really liked the photos in The Coiffure Project because of the diversity of Nunez’s subjects.
“He captures so many different, interesting people,” said Glaze.
Tamanika Tinsley, 28, who lives in Rosedale, said she attended the event to support Nunez, with whom she has skated for about three years.
“It’s nice to see natural hair reaffirmed and healthy and beautiful,” said Tinsley, who works as a chemist. “Natural hair is finally moving to the forefront and things like this are helping to make it popular.”