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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Photographer Documents Tanzania’s ‘Invisible’ Albinos

Three photos from Patrick Gries' In/Visibility exhibit: Petro & Jenifer Paulo; Regina Mathias; Kredo Samwey & Pauline Julius. (Photos by Patrick Gries)

Three photos from Patrick Gries’ In/Visibility exhibit: Petro & Jenifer Paulo; Regina Mathias; Kredo Samwey & Pauline Julius. (Photos by Patrick Gries)

Albinism, a rare genetic disorder characterized by a lack of pigment in hair, skin and eyes affects fewer than one in 200,000 Americans. But in Tanzania, where the incidence is the highest in the world, one in about 1,400 people are affected.

Despite the prevalence there, however, Tanzanians suffering from albinism are faced with discrimination and are often the targets of brutal crimes including murder and dismemberment. This is because witch doctors there have promoted the belief that their body parts and organs contain magical properties that can bring luck and health.

Albino births are frequently not recorded in Tanzania, and they are rarely buried in cemeteries because their bones are likely to be disinterred and stolen, making them an “invisible” population. Photographer Patrick Gries was moved by their stories and has created a photo exhibit called In/Visibility. He talks with Here & Now’s Robin Young about the exhibit and what inspired it.

To learn more, Gries suggests Under the Same Sun and the Tanzania Albinism Society.

More Photos From In/Visibility

David Mwangutes, Tanzania 2010, from Patrick Gries' series In/Visibility 2012. (Photo by Patrick Gries)

David Mwangutes, Tanzania 2010, from Patrick Gries’ series In/Visibility 2012. (Photo by Patrick Gries)

Haji Hamadi, Tanzania 2010, from Patrick Gries' series In/Visibility 2012. (Photo by Patrick Gries)

Haji Hamadi, Tanzania 2010, from Patrick Gries’ series In/Visibility 2012. (Photo by Patrick Gries)

Jamila A Mdimu, Tanzania 2010, from Patrick Gries' series In/Visibility 2012. (Photo by Patrick Gries)

Jamila A Mdimu, Tanzania 2010, from Patrick Gries’ series In/Visibility 2012. (Photo by Patrick Gries)

Idd & Abruhan Hanziruni, Tanzania 2010, from Patrick Gries' series In/Visibility 2012. (Photo by Patrick Gries)

Idd & Abruhan Hanziruni, Tanzania 2010, from Patrick Gries’ series In/Visibility 2012. (Photo by Patrick Gries)

Sophia Mwhlammedi, Tanzania 2010, from Patrick Gries' series In/Visibility 2012. (Photo by Patrick Gries)

Sophia Mwhlammedi, Tanzania 2010, from Patrick Gries’ series In/Visibility 2012. (Photo by Patrick Gries)

Shida & Semen Bahati, Tanzania 2010, from Patrick Gries' series In/Visibility 2012. (Photo by Patrick Gries)

Shida & Semen Bahati, Tanzania 2010, from Patrick Gries’ series In/Visibility 2012. (Photo by Patrick Gries)

Mary Chalesy, Tanzania 2010, from Patrick Gries' series In/Visibility 2012. (Photo by Patrick Gries)

Mary Chalesy, Tanzania 2010, from Patrick Gries’ series In/Visibility 2012. (Photo by Patrick Gries)

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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