*By Victoria Béguet Day
Alluring, beautiful, enigmatic, vaguely disturbing and definitely thought-provoking, Brazilian photographer Gustavo Lacerda´s award-winning Albinos series seems to capture our fascination with the unusual and unconventional perfectly and manages to raise some interesting questions about perception and difference along the way.
There is no doubt that Lacerda makes some bold choices; except for some rare exceptions (a brightly colored scarf, red fingernails), everything in these portraits, not only the subjects´ skin, hair and eyes, seems to lack pigmentation. From the pale walls in front of which the subjects stand, in unforced poses, to their washed-out clothes, all of the elements in this stunning series contribute to a kind of all-encompassing pallor which, instead of causing the subjects to fade discretely into the background, blending uniformly into their dull surroundings, makes them stand out in an almost unapologetic way. They are unique, intriguing individuals and have our full attention.
The subjects look into or away from the camera. Their stares are focused, distracted or pensive, as if they know something that we don´t, which adds to their appeal. In certain cultures, albinos are simultaneously revered and discriminated against. In the wild, animals that possess this genetic disorder seem to face a similar fate because of their lack of the necessary camouflage needed to increase their chances of survival. There is a definite vulnerability in Lacerda´s subjects. For whatever reason, we can´t seem to take our eyes off them. Honest, engaging, intelligent, Gustavo Lacerda´s Albinos raises interesting questions about beauty and difference.