Beauty as Protest by Olivia Harris

Honourable Mention – Personal

In this personal project, Olivia Harris aims to explore “our relationship between gender and hair, one of the most powerful symbols of identity and self-expression”. For the series, she photographed five women who had all chosen to shave their heads.

“Hair is deeply personal, yet resolutely public,” says Harris. “Traditionally, it’s been a signifier of fertility, wealth, status and gender. It’s also been used to express opposition to the status quo. Think of the Suffragettes’ bob, or the civil rights’ afro. Whichever way you wear it, hair is political.

“As a teenager, I had wanted to shave my head to show the world my objection to strict gender roles, but I lacked the courage. Women who had shaved their heads seemed very brave to me.”