Extraordinarily White: The De/Spectacularization of the Albinotic Body and the Normalization of Its Audience

  • Christopher Hohl
  • Matthias Krings
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Globalization and Embodiment book series (PSGE)


This chapter discusses three cultural institutions–freak show, art photography and fashion modelling–and the respective figures they produced by presenting albinotic bodies. How are bodily deviance and norm negotiated in these cases of structured seeing? Spectacularizing the ‘albino freak’ as a categorical in-between phenomenon, the freak show drew a sharp distinction between the extraordinary figure on stage and its audience while bestowing the latter with normality. On the other hand, Rick Guidotti’s photographic activism invoking ‘positive exposure’ personalizes albinotic subjects and thus partly breaks down the differentiation between deviant other and normal spectator. Finally, in the world of fashion modelling, the albinotic body is again rendered as a spectacle. Extraordinary and beautiful at the same time, this figure, like ‘ordinary’ models, possesses a sought-after distinctiveness while remaining unattainable. Conversely, it bestows its viewers with the ordinariness and normality they hope to transcend.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Hohl
    • 1
  • Matthias Krings
    • 1
  1. 1.Johannes Gutenberg UniversityMainzGermany

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