Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Joakim Eskildsen: The Roma People

Image © Joakim Eskildsen -All Rights Reserved

Joakim Eskildsen is a Danish photographer who trained with the Royal Court photographer Rigmor Mydtskov. Moving to Finland, he learnt the craft of photographic book making and graduated with an MA degree in photography in 1998.

To complete "The Roma Journeys", a book which he and writer Cia Rinne recently published, they traveled in seven different countries to photograph and document the life of the Roma and their living conditions.

According to Joakim, "these Roma journeys were by no means meticulously planned, and instead the product of a number of coincidences that enabled us to come into contact with the Roma."

Joakim's photographs are wonderful...and give us an insight into the lives of the Roma, or Romani, an ethnic group widely known through folklore and literature. I started off this post by describing them as gypsies, but discovered that it's sometimes considered pejorative, based on a mistaken belief of an origin in Egypt.

The Roma have their origins in India, with genetic studies showing that they came from a small population that emerged from ancestors in India around 1000 years ago. Joakim's photographs of the Indian Roma feature the Sapera who are known to be snake charmers in Rajasthan. I came across a band of wandering Sapera when I traveled in Rajasthan, who were quite distinctive in their dress and demeanor.

I encourage you to explore his web site beyond The Roma People...it's well worth your time.

Joakim Eskildsen's India's Roma