Haarlem-based photographer Elisabeth van Aalderen gets a lot of questions about her vitiligo during her day-to-day job. Questions and comments include those out of both curiosity and pity – but Elisabeth doesn’t want people to feel sorry for her.
“I want to wear my spots with pride,” said Elisabeth. “A few months ago, a girl came up to me and said ‘I really love your skin, it’s like your own unique tattoo. You should be proud.’”
That comment inspired her to launch her own series focused on vitiligo – something she’s never photographed before, other than self-portraits. Featuring 15-20 people with vitiligo, the series will include portraits and close-up shots that embrace vitiligo and it’s esthetic. The shoot will take place in her studio in heart of Amsterdam in spring 2019 with a reveal planned for June 2019.
“I really believe that we need to feel beautiful in our skin,” said Elisabeth, who hopes to make a meaningful connection with those being photographed. “I want to communicate that by interpreting the vitiligo body as a beautiful painted canvas.”
A graduate of the Utrecht School of Arts, Elisabeth worked for many years in the fashion industry as a stylist and art director before deciding to pursue her passion in photography. In 2018, Elisabeth won the Vila Talent Awards for best photographer. Today she works primarily in the music and fashion industries, but has a personal interest in landscape photography.
“I want to spread awareness of vitiligo and it’s beauty,” said Elisabeth. ‘I still believe we need to see it more in the media, magazines, and everywhere.”
Erika Page is a blogger, speaker and self-love advocate with universal vitiligo. After living with vitiligo for two decades, Erika founded Living Dappled to create a community of inspiration and hope for girls and women living with vitiligo.