Friday, 20 August 2010

Ciara Leeming: Not Gypsies...Roma

Photo © Ciara Leeming-All Rights Reserved

France's current expulsion of illegal Roma with generational roots in Romania and Bulgaria has been labeled by human rights groups as xenophobic, and criticized by President Sarkozy's (whose poll numbers are abysmal) political opponents.

So to feature Ciara Leeming's work on the Roma in Istanbul during the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop is timely and opportune. Turkey is home to one of the largest Roma populations in the world – an estimated two million people. Yet here as elsewhere, the community is subject to frequent discrimination – ranging from overt harassment to more subtle institutional racism.

Ciara's "Not Gypsies...Roma" was her project during the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop, where she attended Rena Effendi's class. It's a combination of stills, a PDF of the reportage and an audio clip featuring one of the Roma. Many of the stills are verticals and arranged in the gallery as diptychs, but to my eyes, the one above is the most evocative.

Ciara worked at the Evening Leader, the North West Enquirer and the Manchester Evening News. Currently freelance, she supplies features, images and multimedia content to a diverse range of publications and charities, and edits The Big Issue in the North. She's also worked in India, Israel, Palestine and Turkey.

Armed with a degree in European studies and French from the University of Manchester, Ciara is now working towards an MA in photojournalism and documentary photography, through the London College of Communication.