PATRICIA WILLOCQ, BELGIUM

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: WHITE EBONY

On the African continent, people have all different kinds of skin colors, some of which can make life easier, some of which harder. One type of skin stands out more than others: extremely white skin in combination with unusually light hair and blue or green eyes. Depending on the angle of the light, they may even appear to be red. People with such a physical appearance are stared at, laughed at, ostracized and bullied.

Click on a picture to enlarge.

The scientific term for this inherited condition that affects the production of melanin is albinism. It causes a lack of dark skin pigments in the skin, hair and in the iris of the eye.

People affected by albinism are often visually impaired and need special protection against the sun. As a result, they often develop skin cancer. And they suffer from social stigmatization.

It is, therefore, almost a miracle to see the level of courage, confidence and success that albinos display in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, to overcome their role as outsiders. Belgian photographer Patricia Willocq, born and raised in Kinshasa, has been able to admire and document this extraordinary and exemplary development over the last few years.

Curriculum Vitae: Patricia Willocq (Corbis Images)

UNICEF-Photo of the Year Patricia Willocq

Patricia Willocq was born and raised in Kinshasa (Congo DCR) in 1980. After completing her Master's degree in Translation she travelled the world and lived in many places (e.g. Belgium, Chile, Congo, Ireland, UAE, Tailand). Her interest in photography began to develop after having her photos published in the magazine Geografca (Chile) in 2005.

Since then she has developed her skills in stock photography. She was a Getty contributor for more than four years and she is part of Corbis Images agency since September 2013. Her photos have been published in magazines around the world. She published her first photo report about albinism in the Congo in September 2013 and won an Honourable Mention of Unicef Photo of the Year Award 2013.

Publications:

  • Lookin, December 2013, Congo RDC - “White Ebony”, photo Report about Albinism in the Congo - 6 pages
  • Photoline, December 2013, Turkey -“White Ebony” - 4 pages
  • RDC Society, December 2013 - “White Ebony”- cover and 2 pages
  • Fotoritim, September 2013, Turkey – Photo report “White Ebony” - online
  • 6 mois, July 2013, France – Photo of the Month “White Ebony”- online
  • Inti Illimani, " La Maquina del Tiempo", 2013, Chile – Music Album Cover
  • Time Out Istanbul, June 2012, Turkey – Article about Inti Illimani – online
  • La Cuccina Italiana, May 2012, Turkey - Article about restaurants in the South of Turkey
  • Tuğba Özay, Music album cover, “Üç Nokta”, 2012, Turkey
  • Te Guardian, July 2011, U.K. - Article on holidays in Croatia - online
  • Gulaylar, April 2011, Turkey - Article about Tuğba Özayy – cover and 2 pages
  • Elite, March 2011, Turkey – Article about Tuğba Özay – cover and 4 pages
  • Hafta Sonu, March 2011, Turkey – Tuğba Özayy – cover and 4 pages
  • Te Nature Conservancy, April 2010, U.S. – Finalist in photo competition
  • Geografca, May 2006, Chile – Publication about Pink Flamingo of Chile
  • Geografca, October 2005, Chile – Winner of photo contest of Geografca
  • Te Nature Conservancy, April 2010, U.S. – Finalist in photo competition

Professional Experience:

  • June - September 2013: Photo report about albinism in the Congo (DRC) called « White Ebony ». Implementation of a personal and permanent project called « White Ebony : A Vision for all » with Unicef Congo, le Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles and Lions Club Unikin.
  • 2011- 2013: Freelance photographer in Turkey
  • 2009 – 2011: Dive Master, Tailand
  • 2006 – 2008: Account Manager, Aeroconsult, Chile
  • 2001 – 2002: Guideress coordinator, Lufthansa, Dublin

Education:

  • 2001 – 2006: Master’s degree in translation and interpretation in English, French and Spanish from the Higher Institute of Translators and Interpreters of Brussels (ISTI)

PHOTO OF THE YEAR 2013

More information on the competition and the UNICEF-Photo of the Year 2013 reportages.

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WINNERS 2000-2012

Please find all the award winners of the previous years and their photo series at

fotodesjahres.unicef.de/en