Over the course of history, various groups of people have been taunted or shunned because of birth defects or genetic abnormalities. One such group is albinos, who are born with a melanin defect, resulting in the loss of pigment in the skin, eyes and hair, causing vision problems, and making them susceptible to various skin cancers.
Gustavo Lacerda (b. 1970, Belo Horizonte) has been attracted to the peculiar beauty of albinism for some time. Since the beginning of 2009, he has attempted to reflect the inner world of Brazilian albinos, and he does so in a consistent and idiosyncratic style of portraiture. Using a kind of theatrical interference, including costumes, hair and make-up, Lacerda indeed succeeded in finding the right balance between his aesthetic vision and capturing a truthful reflection of his subjects’ inner selves.
Although Lacerda experienced some discomfort at first, a certain hesitation from the albinos that he approached, he eventually managed to convince them to participate. Often forced to stay in the shade due to their condition, or socially hidden away, albinos may grow accustomed with obscurity, but Lacerda offered them a brush with exposure. His images help create for them a new status, enabling them to experience a feeling that they were not so much acquainted with: pride.