Inspiration Phase | The Stigma of Vitiligo

Definition: Vitiligo (vit-ih-LIE-go) is a disease that causes the loss of skin color in blotches. The extent and rate of color loss from vitiligo is unpredictable. It can affect the skin on any part of your body. It may also affect hair, the inside of the mouth and even the eyes.

Photographer Chiara Goia documents the stories of Indian women who have been isolated by the skin disorder, which results in loss of pigment

 

vitiligo_04

Shilpa, 33
“I used to consider it a big problem in my life,” Shilpa says. “I thought nothing good could happen to me. Then I started to get psychological support, and I also got into a music school. Music has helped me as a form of meditation.” vitiligo_10

Sandhya, 48, and Dilip, 52
“I got vitiligo when I was 21,” Sandhya says. “At first I was afraid. I wouldn’t go out, meet people or go to functions, and the problem was that I couldn’t find a job because of it, and I totally lost confidence. My relation with vitiligo changed dramatically after my marriage. I could finally be with someone who could understand my feelings, because he has the same problem, and I set myself free. I have always been very happy with my husband.”
vitiligo_08andhya, 48, and Dilip, 52
“I got vitiligo when I was 21,” Sandhya says. “At first I was afraid. I wouldn’t go out, meet people or go to functions, and the problem was that I couldn’t find a job because of it, and I totally lost confidence. My relation with vitiligo changed dramatically after my marriage. I could finally be with someone who could understand my feelings, because he has the same problem, and I set myself free. I have always been very happy with my husband.”

Sunita, 20
“I am uncomfortable, as I feel that people’s perspective on me has changed since I got vitiligo,” Sunita says. vitiligo_07

Mayura, 26
“There will be at least one person in this entire world who will look at my inner beauty, rather than my outer beauty,” Mayura says.

This project has opened up my mind to the storytelling part of my project. I see now that there doesn’t need to be a long paragraph about the person, a few sentences can be just as powerful. I am aware that some of the models here did not want to show their faces so showed a different part of their body instead. I think this really works, especially for this skin condition. It shows their insecurities to be photographed. Perhaps they weren’t comfortable with the photographer?

 

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