The photojournalist Ana Palacios takes us inside the daily life of a shelter for people with albinism and shows us what it is to live with this genetic condition in Tanzania.
ALBINO / Ana Palacios
Texts by Alicia Ventura, Isabel Muñoz, Pedro Jaén, José Luis de la Serna, José Maria Márquez y Mafalda Soto.
Bilingual edition English / Spanish
31 x 28.2 cm
82 colour plates
The photojournalist Ana Palacios takes us inside the daily life of a shelter for people with albinism and shows us what it is to live with this genetic condition in Tanzania. Widespread ignorance of the causes of albinism feeds stigmatization, marginalization and prejudice, added to which is the very real fear of falling victim to witch doctors who sell good luck potions made with albino limbs. But behind these problems lies the greatest danger of all: skin cancer – a disease that in the West has a very high cure rate but in Africa reduces the life expectancy of people with albinism to less than thirty years.
Albino bears witness to the endeavours and achievements of a group of Spanish aid workers who have devoted a number of years now to health and education in Tanzania, developing prevention programmes and providing treatment for patients and training for local doctors.
Ana Palacios's photographs – subtle, complex and optimistic – show that the depiction of often-terrible situations is by no means incompatible with the capturing of magical moments.
Ana Palacios is a journalist and photographer. She studied information sciences in Pamplona, followed by film and photography in Los Angeles, where she lived for several years. She was born in Zaragoza and currently lives in Madrid. She worked as a journalist for the newsroom at Antena 3 Televisión, she has run communications departments, and for more than ten years she has been working as a film production coordinator, particularly on international co-productions. She has worked with directors such as Ridley Scott, Milos Forman, Tony Kaye, Michael Radford, Jim Jarmusch and Roman Polanski.
Between films, she produces documentary photography, always in connection with development cooperation projects in Asia and Africa. Her photographs raise awareness of childhood and women’s issues for various NGOs, including Manos Unidas,Africa Directo or In Movement. She photographs the world’s broken places: orphanages, asylums, hospitals, psychiatric units, ghettoes and the like. Her intention is to make vulnerable communities visible with a sense of optimism and hope. She has lived alongside homeless women in India, lepers in China, albinos in Tanzania, tribes in Ethopia, pygmies in Burundi and children at risk of social exclusion in Uganda, who have become the subjects of some of her work.
“Ana Palacios has managed to turn pain into joy and dignity. Her pictures are full of hope and poetry.”
Isabel Muñoz – Photographer
“On our first visit we discovered that albinism affects about one hundred thousand people in Tanzania and that a cancer that in a country such as ours has a cure rate of close to 100 is the main cause of their early death. We also became aware of the added suffering caused by marginalization, ignorance and superstition.”
Pedro Jaén – Dermatologist
“Ana uses all the resources of photographic language to generate a series of complex, subtle, polysemic images, in which the description of often terrible situations is leavened by the capturing of magical moments.”
Alicia Ventura – Curator