White Blacks

I have started a new project on the harmful practice of skin lightening in black African women. Skin lightening has gained a terrifying popularity in some African countries. Mainly women are chasing beauty standards based on a European model spending huge amounts of money to achieve fairer skin.

Apart from portraits, I photographed in a beauty salon in downtown Kampala, where Maama Lususu (“mother of beautiful skin”) resides to treat women’s skins. Mercury, Cortisol and Hydrochinon, all of them chemical brightening agents, might result in a fairer skin- but it’s a damaged, unhealthy one.

Maama Lususu helps to brighten bodies and faces, but she is also a rescuer of skins that have been damaged by home use of chemicals, which sometimes could even be stain removers. In Uganda, the ideal color seems to be Caramel. “Brown women”, a client says, “shine brighter in the dark night”.

Part of the project was commissioned by and published in Focus Magazine in February 2015