CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte photographer is raising awareness about albinism.
Gavin Boulware is a Black man who was born with albinism, which is a genetic condition affecting the production of the pigment melanin in skin, hair and eyes.
The 32-year-old said albinism has influenced the way he does his job.
“It causes me to pay attention to colors and people’s true skin tone,” Boulware said.
Boulware noticed he was different at a young age because he’s the only one in his family with albinism.
“From my understanding, the albinism comes from my grandmother’s side of the family,” Boulware said.
Boulware said he was a victim of bullying and discrimination in school.
“I had to make the decision, very, very early to love myself, accept myself and say ‘hey this is who I am and I need to embrace this side of me’ and that’s what I end up doing,” Boulware said.
He talks about albinism in his photography podcast called “Paid in Exposure.” In June, he also held a photowalk on Albinism Awareness Day.
“I was able to bring awareness to that day to talk about how we face discrimination, just issues that we face in our own life but also say ‘hey, let me get a lot of people around that know me for photography for us to celebrate that day’ and also learn and collaborate with photography,” Boulware said.
He doesn’t mind sharing his own experience, but he said there is one little question he could do without.
“The biggest thing that’s inappropriate is what’s wrong,” Boulware said.
He gave an example of a more appropriate question.
“I notice that you look different and I just want to learn more,” Boulware said.
He’s happy to answer questions if they can lead to a more inclusive community.
“We have to normalize these things so that we can grow and no body feels discriminated,” Boulware said.
Boulware also wants others to know albinism affects people of different races. He advises parents who have children with albinism to let them go at their own pace and support them.