‘Ridiculed, misunderstood and feared for their ‘magical powers’

Normal, Weekender

The National, Friday 17th August 2012

A Brazilian artist has created a portfo¬lio of people with albinism, bring¬ing the young and old together for a set of poignant pictures.
Gustavo Lacerda, from Sao Paulo wanted to feature “those who have al¬ways been an outsider” and bring them to the forefront through his photograph¬ic work.
People with albinism are born with little or no pigmentation in their eyes, skin and hair or sometimes just in their eyes alone. The eyes are especially af¬fected and albinos can often be cross eyed or have general poor vision.
Lacerda encouraged a range of peo¬ple who have the condition to come to his studio and pose for his website.
“Since the beginning of 2009 I have been researching the universe of albi¬nos and trying to bring them to the front of the camera,” said Mr Lacerda.
He said he decided to photograph his subjects in the studio, “valuing and seeking to mystify the production pro-cess, such as costumes, hair/makeup and backgrounds
“The idea was to put them clearly in the forefront, a new situation for those who have always been an outsider,” he explained.
Lacerda said the focus caused some of the subjects discomfort in the begin¬ning, but they were also proud.
He added that capturing the moment “with fidelity has been a major chal¬lenge and there arises the essence of the work.”
All the images were captured from a digital back and printed on Hahne¬muhle Photo Rag Ultra Smooth large format.
Albinism is a genetic condition and occurs when a person inherits one or more faulty genes – in turn this means they do not produce the usual amounts of a pigment called melanin.
It affects all races – it can be inherited but in most cases, there’s no family his¬tory.
With age, some people can gain a little pigmentation in their hair or eyes with age, or they may develop pigment¬ed freckles on their skin.
In 2010 Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci broke the style mould with a striking series of ads starring al¬bino model Stephen Thompson.
Inspired by a Robert Mapplethorpe print of a white Roman bust on a piece of leopard-print fabric, the image shows Thompson posing alongside supermod¬el Daphne Groeneveld, whose hair has been bleached white to match his.
Tisci told industry title WWD that he had always admired albino people, and explained how pale flesh tones were a key feature of his designs.
“They’re very near my world,” he said.
Thompson was previously represent¬ed by the now defunct Ugly modeling agency, which represented unusual faces.-Mail Online