Monday, 28 October 2013

Viviana Peretti | Camargue Gypsy Pilgrimage

Photo © Viviana Peretti-All Rights Reserved
I sometimes discover a photographer's work that is so interesting that I hurry to post about it as soon as possible, upending the predetermined order of future posts on my blog.

The work of Viviana Peretti is one of those.

So I'm glad to feature Viviana's Gypsy Pilgrimage in La Camargue which she covered so well using her iPhone and the Hispstamatic's Tintype Tinto 1884 lens and the D-Type film pack...which is by far my favorite.

The Gypsy Pilgrimage celebrate the saints Mary-Jacobé and Mary-Salomé, and it is held in Saintes Maries de la Mer, a small village in the heart of the Camargue, South of France. The legend is that a boat landed near the village's site from Palestine, carrying Mary Magdalene, Marie-Jacobé, and Salomé, as well as Lazarus. With them was Sara, whose identity is unclear. There are some who believe that she was the daughter of Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ...while others believe she was the personal maid of Marie-Jacobé. As the only dark-skinned woman on the boat, she was embraced by the Romani as their patron saint.

Romani (aka gypsies) from the region carry the the saints' effigies in a long procession to the beach to be blessed in the sea. The procession is not only made of Romani, but of the region's Arlesiennes in their distinctive costume, as well are the Gardians (Camargue's cowboys) and pilgrims.

This ritual's concept reminds me of the Hindu Durga Puja and the Balinese odalan, where effigies are carried to the river or sea to be blessed.

Viviana Peretti is an Italian freelance photographer currently based in Europe. After earning a BA in Anthropology from the University of Rome, she moved to Colombia where she specialized in photojournalism and worked as a freelance photographer for 9 years. In 2010, she graduated in Documentary Photography and Photojournalism from the International Center of Photography, and worked in NYC as a freelance photographer until her recent move to Europe.

She received fellowships and awards from the International Center of Photography, the Joannie M. Chen Fund in New York, the University of Salamanca, the Spanish Embassy in Colombia, the Photo Museum in Bogotá, and the Colombian Ministry of Culture. In 2010, she was selected for the Eddie Adams Workshop (Barnstorm XXIII), and has been published in a number of international newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, the New York Magazine, BBC, CNN, Le Journal de la Photographie and L'Espresso.