Cake
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    • Yes! Very exciting. I was doing a casting here in my studio - this was at a point when I was SO frustrated, because I was always told where beauty existed. So I’m leaving my studio from a big casting for ELLE magazine, I think I saw every model in the world that day, I was walking down Park Ave on a break, and I saw a beautiful young woman with white, white WHITE hair, pale pale PALE skin - she had the genetic condition albinism. Albino is the common term. She was so beautiful, and I instantly knew I’d never met a model who’d looked like this. This beautiful child was stunning, yet never considered beautiful. And when I went to do research on albinism, I didn’t know where to go. I went to medical textbooks, thinking it would be the most obvious place to find these images. And the medical textbooks, when I opened it up to albinism, were so horrible. Photographs of people in cancer clinics, or children up against walls in medical clinics, in their underwear, with black bars across their eyes. There was nothing but sadness or despair in any of these images. Such a strong contrast to this gorgeous kid waiting for a bus! So I saw an organization called NOAH - National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation - and there was a support group for people with albinism and their families. I was so relieved and delighted to see there was an organization I could call. SO I did, and I said “I’m a fashion photographer, and I want to show the world the beauty of albinism, this will be amazing!” And they said “Go away!” And I”m a New Yorker, I’m pretty persistent, and they made it very clear to me there was a fear of exploitation. Every time there was an article about a person with albinism, it was usually sensational, usually exploitative, or negative. And I said “I believe you! I can’t find a single positive example anywhere, and I’ve been searching and searching! So let’s do something strange here, let’s form a nontraditional partnership: fashion photographer and genetic support group. Together, let’s partner and create a photo-essay to celebrate Albinism.” So POSITIVE EXPOSURE was born that day. In walked the first girl I was going to photograph - Christine, with long white hair, pale skin, 5 feet 9 inches. But she walked in slumped over, with zero sense of self esteem, as a direct result of the bullying, teasing and abuse that she suffered every day as a result of her difference. And it broke my heart to see this gorgeous kid that way. Well, she was so gorgeous standing there, I was thinking “How can I photograph this kid?” And I thought that I would photograph this girl the way I would any other supermodel - the fan went on, the music went on, and I said “Christine, look at yourself, you’re MAGNIFICENT!” And she saw what I saw. And she exploded with this smile that lit up New York City. It was amazing. She desperately needed to change the way she saw herself. And her community, her peers, her family, needed to change the way that they saw her difference. So she created the philosophy right there and then that drives POSITIVE EXPOSURE 20 years later. And that philosophy is “CHANGE HOW YOU SEE. SEE HOW YOU CHANGE.” That’s the name of our book, and everything we do is based on that. And that’s how it started!