But of this later.
Region Parisienne. Paris Est,
“93” as the French whispered behind their reserved hand, and the younger generation proudly expressed “le neuf trois” as a business card respectfully. In this melting pot of drugs, crime, violence, as well as new art forms of all kinds, from fashion to music and painting, I am living as a native German with my wife Soraya, a French woman of Algerian descent and my two sons for 25 years.
I own a small Newspaper and Tobacco Store which occupies me 70 hours a week. If there is still time and energy left, I prefer to photograph. My preferred focal length is 35mm. Unspoiled and open. Sufficient people of different nationalities frequent my shop, so that I am not lacking in motivation, rather the lack of time. But I already mentioned that.
It makes me want to photograph my neighborhood or to portray one of the numerous Artisans, or the boxing club “Boxingbeats” not far from my shop.
But my desire was to photograph Roma in their own environment for a long time. I do not know what is causing me to do this task. I have partout no explanation for it. Perhaps it is the unconscious lead to my future image.
But of this later.
It started in July 2014. My wife and I went to Normandy, 250 km away, to relax. During a walk in the direction of the coast, I noticed on a hill a small camp of Roma who had parked their horse-drawn caravans there and apparently stayed there for a few days.
Wow! There they were, what a blessing. The next day, I would make my “reportage”, was obvious. On the following morning I met the Rome’s family at basket-raising, and after I had introduced myself and made my request, I was able to take a few pictures, because the patron was not there yet.
I was excited, because it was my first work of this kind. In addition there was the uncertainty about the time of the sudden arrival of the family leader. So I asked several questions to distract from my camera and the frequent trigger sounds.
And suddenly the picture presented itself to me in my viewfinder. Pure coincidence, as so often! Or not? I remember very clearly my anger against the young mother with her baby in the arm, which is literally turned off the camera, the baby looks directly into the camera.
Shortly thereafter, the boss appeared and was surprised to meet a “reporter” in this lonely area. He smelled the big money and I could pull with a smaller banknote out of the precarious situation. (Nikon D4s with AF-S Nikkor 35mm 1: 1.4G) Quasi as an addition he showed me still his 24 hours old foal, which was quite bravely on its legs. I quickly got out of the dust.
Later on the Mac, looking at the photo, I could have embraced the young mother with happiness and gratitude just because of her demonstrative drift.
Ok, the autofocus does not sit on the baby face, it is not a studio shot or an aftermath scene, but the photo is absolutely live and full of tension and drama.
I feel the proverbial happiness of a beginner, at the right time, in the right place on the trigger pressed.
I also immediately had a title or heading for the picture. It may sound a bit humming for some, but for me, Quintessence embodies all the suffering of a people that has never had a right to land, and in particular, the photo embodies the status of woman as a woman who grows beyond her femininity, Courage and will.
I called the picture “La Piéta des Roms”