Once again, I caught myself thinking that I was somewhat jealous of the ability of Roma to enjoy simplicity. Many people know that for almost 7 years I have been working with Roma in camps in Transcarpathia.
On International Roma Day, I want to share with you my favorite portrait. The Roma theme is special and sensitive for me, I devoted 7 years of my life to them. Until now, the Roma, unfortunately, remain isolated in places where they live compactly. But I was lucky enough to be one of the few who saw their life from the inside. By the way, my beard also helped me in this, on which at first my authority was kept, especially among the kids. I especially remember this Roma girl for her big eyes and some special look. It was very pleasant to make her portrait due to the fact that she behaved like a professional young model - she did not move, she intuitively took the right pose and behaved very directly.
I revealed the secret of how to photograph naughty and shy children so that they are not afraid and do not look at you like a stuffed fox. And you can do this with the help of creative masks for photo lenses. Now, when shooting, it remains just to imitate the mask: to speak like a dog, or meow like a cat. It works perfectly, tested in the Roma camp. The masks made the task much easier, because before that I had to rely on a beard and a kilogram of toffees.
Last night, an activist began to persistently call me with information that once again the Roma had kidnapped a fair-haired child and that they urgently needed to call the police, go to the camp and “beat off” the baby, otherwise they would take it apart for spare parts, like a magical amulet, or just for good luck , and, maybe, for fortune-telling. This is not the first time such appeals have taken place, and in all cases this stereotyped information has never been confirmed. For 5 years, almost every week, I have been in the camp (and we have more than 120 of them in Transcarpathia), and often I have to see the descendants of the Aryans with blond hair (at one time I was also very suspicious of this phenomenon and each time I asked to see evidence of the birth of a baby). And over the years, I have accumulated dozens of photographs of fair-haired Roma children in my archive.
Together with the Human Rights Foundation "Progress", we developed and released the first Roma stamp in the world, timing this event to the International Roma Day. The first stamp on Roma issues, which we launched, depicts a beautiful Roma woman with a red flower in her hair. The artist and I discussed the idea for several weeks, consulted, drew, reworked, argued and came to a common opinion.
And here freshly printed stamps came to us from Kiev. It is nice to hold an envelope with this stamp in hands - it is result of our long work. It would seem to be a small event, but it is very important not only for us, but also for the Roma, who were overwhelmed with joy and pride for their people when they saw the official stamp.