Albinism and perceptions of beauty

South African photographer Justin Dingwall’s portrait series Albus explores the aesthetics of albinism and perceptions of beauty

 

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Albinism is an inherited condition that results in the absence, or near absence, of pigmentation in the eyes, skin and hair. Many people living with albinism are subject to negative public attitudes, persecution and violence. In Tanzania albinos body parts are sought after as they are thought to bring people luck.

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They are not about race or fashion, but about perception, and what we subjectively perceive as beautiful,’ says Dingwall.

‘I wanted to create a series of images that resonate with humanity and make people question what is beautiful.

‘To me diversity is what makes humanity interesting and beautiful.’

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Albinism is particularly prevalent in Tanzania, with one in 1,400 affected, according to a 2006 BMC Public Health report.

This compares with one in 20,000 in Western countries.

Since 2000, at least 75 people with albinism have been killed in targeted attacks in Tanzania.

Many are killed because potions made from their body parts are believed to bring good luck and wealth.

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Images by Justin Dingwall

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