Noticed: Entranced by Romas (gypsies?)

A Romani woman performs in Old Town Square at the Roma Parade

This morning I was granted the pleasure of photographing the Roma Parade which is part of a larger event — World Roma Festival Khamoro. Frankly, I may be very politically incorrect here for referring to this group of people as “gypsies” but I’m sure most readers will understand me better if I use that term instead.

After our morning lecture, we all set out with an assignment in our heads: make a lasting image. I have the tools to make great photos and I have the heart to work hard at my craft. Patience? Well that’s another thing. As any good photographer, and journalist for that matter, knows, you always arrive early and stay late — that’s when all the interesting things happen.

Will I be shunned for breaking that rule just a bit?

In case you didn’t know, parades are an excuse for people to crowd around one another, snap aimless shots, and basically smother the performers in any way they can. Roll your eyes at me, I dare you. I swarmed my prey like a shark, waiting for the perfect shot, except that perfect shot turned into 500 or so — not so perfect shots.

Gypsies are certainly wonderful subjects to get warmed up with. They’re colorful, exciting, photogenic and love to be in the spotlight. Although, I don’t feel the men are at par with their women. Maybe I’m biased here, because I find all women to be beautiful, but I was simply mystified by their women and their rich makeup, elaborate attire and dare I say, seductive gestures.

That’s what attracted me the most. I’ve always found myself to be such a shy and almost, static, person. I keep to myself for the most part and not until I really have no choice, do I explode in a frenzy of emotions and random curse words.

The woman in my photograph may or may not have been a Roma, but that’s the least of my worries. Since the parade began I noticed her and what I took to be her husband? boyfriend? caretaker? What does it matter. He guarded her carefully, like a delicate rose. I wished to grasp at least one frame of her beauty.

In a sea of people, I’m guessing 300 or more, I fought my way through the crowd, doing the whole photographer “schpiel”– crouching around, rudely pushing through people, getting high, getting low, sticking my camera in every open shot I found– basically, BEING AGGRESSIVE. Does that word even exist in my vocabulary?

And that’s how I finally captured my gypsy. At the end of the parade I searched around for her, hopefully obtaining that one shot I was obsessing over. And it happened. It was not the graceful look I envisioned, but who really cares. I think I achieved something greater than that. She was performing for us and that’s where I found her beauty to transcend the most, when she was on “stage.”

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