Dwelled

Between 2013 and 2105 I photographed Roma people. I grew up in Yugoslavia. From the majestic bear tamers of my childhood to kids standing at traffic lights they had always been a passing presence in my life. This time I decided to step into their world instead of standing on the side of the road and watch them go by as I used to. I wanted to look straight into the dark and wide eyes of children.

I went to them and they let me in, there, in the slums around Belgrade. There everything’s fluid, nothing’s fixed, neither the ground nor the walls. There you don’t just enter a house, you walk an unstable path towards another world. I did enter. I listened and watched with or without my camera. I was hurt by things I witnessed that seemed too cruel for kids to live through. I would often wonder where they find the strength to start their days, there, on the garbage heaps of the city? And I saw this was not just about strength. Their is true joy and life shining through. One dull morning a boy shows me his new shoes, too big maybe, but nice enough. His little sister arrives all proud with a radiant smile: “I found these for him, in the bin!” In a second the sun warmed my heart.