Interview with Regis & Kahran Bethencourt | Naturally Perfect #AfroArt
As a society, we created strong standards of what beauty means. We admire those who resemble a certain appearance of a commonly accepted model of how “beautiful” has to look. And that is absolutely fine, as long as we don’t compare and deny ourselves to see the excellence, magnificence, and attractiveness we all are born with. We are perfect and beautiful the way we are, and that just takes some love, to see that in yourself and others. Regis and Kahran Bethencourt from CreativeSoul Photography is making a change in perception by traveling the world and capturing the natural beauty of kids through the AfroArt series. No wonder their art immediately went viral, shared by many celebrities, gaining worldwide attention, and appearing in major international outlets.
As Regis and Kahran say:
“To us, innate beauty means the beauty that you were born with. Oftentimes, kids of color may not realize the beauty they possess, so it is up to us as photographers to be able to bring out their inner beauty for the world to see.”
- Please introduce yourself briefly. Who, in your own words, are Regis and Kahran Bethencourt?
We are Regis and Kahran, a husband and wife duo and the imaginative forces behind CreativeSoul Photography. Together, we are on a mission to challenge the current standards of beauty through our photography. With over 9 years of working with hundreds of children, families, and brands, we specialize in lifestyle photography and authentic, visual storytelling.
- At what time did you feel inspired to become photography-artists?
We both started out in the marketing and design world and fell in love with photography while dating cross-country long distance. We decided to start CreativeSoul Photography together while Regis was in school studying photography.
- How has being partners in life and professionally embraced your creativity?
We are always striving to push each other creatively. When we’re stuck in a creative rut we will often have brainstorming sessions to help inspire new ideas. It also helps to have an extra set of eyes to tell you when something may not be up to the standard of quality that we expect in our imagery.
- Where does the name of your photography studio – CreativeSoul come from?
The name CreativeSoul actually started with our first business venture years ago – CreativeSoul Designs. We started out as partners in the graphic/web design world but quickly realized this was not the best business for us together. When we decided to start our photography venture we decided to keep the CreativeSoul name because we loved the idea of two creative souls coming together to create magic.
- CreativeSoul, as you say, has a holistic approach. What does it mean and how does this reflect throughout your creative process?
I think what sets our photography company apart is that we are involved in every aspect of the planning and creative process from initial concept to execution. It allows us to understand the end goal and make necessary changes as we are shooting to make sure our images align with our clients end vision or goal.
The AfroArt Series
- The AfroArt series celebrates diversity and uniqueness aiming to empower the natural beauty of kids of color. In that sense, what does innate beauty mean to you?
To us, innate beauty means the beauty that you were born with. Oftentimes, kids of color may not realize the beauty they possess, so it is up to us as photographers to be able to bring out their inner beauty for the world to see.
- You travel throughout the U.S. and the world to capture beautiful images of children. What is the most inspiring for you about working with children for this project?
We are often inspired when we see the new sense of confidence the kids have after doing a shoot with us. Often kids may feel a little shy or reserved when they first come in and after the shoot walk out with a new sense of pride in who they are.
- How do you think your art is making a change? Do you think you are setting new beauty standards through the AfroArt series?
Definitely, we are grateful that our work has been shared all over the world and we’ve been able to have this series featured in places like TeenVogue, BBC News and other places where these types of images haven’t traditionally been shown. We hope that we can continue to break through barriers and showcase this new standard of beauty.
- How was your experience of co-creating the AfroArt Series with make-up artist and celebrity hairstylist Lachanda Gatson?
We’ve worked with LaChanda for several years now and enjoy creating with her. We have fun on set and she knows our style, so we are able to give her the overall concept and let her creativity flow during a shoot.
- You recently have signed a book deal to be launched in early 2019 with St. Martin’s Press, one of the largest English-language publishers. Could you reveal the name and content of this new project?
The book is still untitled but we are planning to release the final title this summer. The book will contain images similar to our AfroArt series and will be captured from around the world (US, South America, the Caribbean, Africa, Canada). The book will be divided into three sections: Past, Present, and Future which will open up many avenues for us to explore through our photography.
- How do you envision the future of possibilities for young children specifically in the beauty industry, which has so much influence on all of us?
We are encouraged by the new doors opening for kids in the beauty industry. Many brands are now catering to kids and are starting to use them as influencers for their brands. We hope that these new avenues will open up opportunities for a more diverse future in the beauty industry.
- How important do you think is seeing more uplifting images of kinds of color in the media not only to celebrate who they are but also to shift the stereotypes of all children (and adults) to love and accept themselves and each other?
It is very important for kids of color to see themselves represented in a positive way in the media. When positive images are void, kids often feel that they have to look or act a certain way to be accepted by society’s standards. Having images that they can relate to allows kids to feel more self-confident throughout their childhood and adulthood.
- What, in your opinion, could adults do to contribute to the awareness of acceptance, diversity, and inclusion for everyone?
It is imperative for adults to make a conscious decision to show kids the value of diversity and inclusion in everything they do. When kids are taught the value at an early age, they grow up with diversity being the norm and will expect it in their everyday life.
- What is your biggest desire at this moment?
Our biggest desire at the moment is for kids to grow up seeing their true value, beauty, and self-worth. We hope that by seeing images like ours, they will grow up with a sense of belonging in a way that many of us did not have before.
- The spirit of The Hedonist Magazine is The Essence of a Joyful Living. How does Joy during the process of creation affect your own experience and in consequence the final manifestation of your actions?
We believe that it is important for us to have joy in whatever we’re doing in life. We believe that in order for us to be successful, we have to be passionate about what we’re doing. We hope that our joy and passion shines through in our images so that our clients and viewers experience the same joy when viewing our photos.
- When you hear, “You can be, do and have anything you want,” words by Abraham Hicks. What is your take on such a statement?
We take that to mean that you can do anything you put your mind to do, no matter how difficult it may seem and no matter the obstacles you may face along the way.