Albinism is a rare condition that affects about one in 20,000 people in Europe and North America. Heterochromia is even rarer, with about six of every thousand sufferers.
A photographer from Chechnya, Russia, saw a picture of a young girl in these conditions because he had to meet and of course take some pictures of her. When he saw the picture of the girl with heterochrome, he was overwhelmed by her unique beauty.
Ependieva has both albinism and heterochromia, which are rare. Albinism is a condition in which melanin production in the skin is very low. Melanin is responsible for pigmentation of skin, hair and eyes, and people with this condition have pale skin and white or blonde hair. Heterochroma is a genetic disorder that causes a person to assume a different color of the eyes.
Due to her two illnesses, the girl has a striking appearance: she has fair skin and hair, a brown eye and a blue eye. Arsakova describes the girl as calm, a characteristic that is reflected in her photos. After some searching, she was able to contact the girl’s mother, who agreed to do a photo shoot for her daughter.
When we talk about albinism we usually refer to the disease known as oculocutaneous albinism, a group of hereditary disorders that affects melanin production on the skin and the hair. People with the condition lack melanin under their skin, making them more sensitive to the sun and increasing their risk of developing skin cancer. Melanin also plays a role in development of the optic nerve, so people with this condition tend to have vision problems. Other types of albinism include ocular albinism, which restricts the eyes, and albinistic inherited syndromes. The disease is caused by a mutation in one of the genes that provides instructions for making the proteins involved in melanin production.
The most recognizable signs of albinism are white hair and fair skin. The skin and hair color changes from white to brown. Some have melanin production that begins to rise in childhood or adolescence, causing their pigmentation to change rather than remain the same throughout their lives. Vision problems, as mentioned above, are also a predominant feature of this type of albinism.
For this reason, some people with albinism experience social isolation and low self-esteem. They can experience bullying and teasing, because of their different looks. Others may feel like outsiders and be treated like that, because they are different from their own family or ethnic group.