“… Since September, the albinos in Burundi have been the victims of a dreadful, sordid, mad hunt. Five murders, all of them quite appalling, have been committed. Albinos, whether men, women, boys or girls, have become, in spite of themselves, the targets of a very lucrative market. …”

After reading this newspaper article, Eric Nehr started his new series of portraits. His fourth exhibition in gallery Anne Barrault, is political, anthropological, artistic, human. These photographs relate a journey of meeting with this minority group in Cameroon and Panama.

In certain African countries, these black people, born white, are considered half-man, half-god. Regarded as having market value, they can be chased to death. In Panama, “albinos are mythologized by the Kuna-Dule, the only Amerindian people who think them so.” Despite this, Panamanians, however, do not actually grant albinos any sort of enviable position in their society. Latent discrimination exists against them.

Two positions exist in two communities, but one eye connects them. That eye belongs to a photographer, Eric Nehr, bound by the choice of his subject, but whose sense of light, color, and matter prevails in his images.

Through portraits he gives these albinos, who have no real social identity, status and importance, and makes visible their critical situation, whether in Panama or Africa.

The characteristic lack of natural coloring in albinos’ skin, hair, eyelashes, and eyes is emphasized by Eric Nehr. His images become metaphors of this genetic disease. Pasted up like posters made from India paper, the albino almost disappear when hanging on the wall. Technique serves the fragility of these people.

Eric Nehr has been able, with a distance from his subjects, to define the ambivalent status of the African albino.

This article has been edited and condensed, originally appearing in MAKER Magazine.