Norwegian photographer fascinated by Roma ability to maintain cultural heritage in desperate conditions
In Oslo a book about Norwegian Romani people was recently been published featuring the photographs of Gorm K. Gaare. He has also documented the lives of Roma in Bulgaria, in the Czech town of Bělá nad Radbuzou near Plzeň, and in Slovakia.
"I am fascinated by Romani people's ability to maintain their cultural heritage irrespective of the desperate conditions they frequently live in, " Gaare tells news server Romea.cz. He was given his first camera at the age of six and his first darkroom at the age of 15.
He began studying photography in Norway and later decided to study abroad, spending three years at FAMU in Prague. "I didn't want a typical school, I didn't want to go to London or New York. I was fascinated by the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, so in 1997 I came to Prague to study," he says.
Gaare met a 13-member Romani family living all together in a house in Bělá nad Radbuzou and photographed their everyday life during his countless visits. "When I came to the Czech Republic, I was aware of the conditions Romani people face here. There are problems with discrimination in the schools and other institutions, with xenophobia, with very bad living conditions. For a long time I hesitated because I was a big fan of [photographer] Josef Koudelka and I didn't want to just follow in his footsteps," he says.
Later he began to photograph Romani people in Bulgaria and Slovakia. "That was predominantly ghettos and villages where there was total poverty. That was a strong experience for me - the conditions for life in those places were worse than anything I had ever seen anywhere," he says.
On 8 April, International Romani Day, a book called It's Cold Outside: Roma in Norway was published in Oslo (the Norwegian title is Ute er det kaldt. Om romer i Norge). The publication familiarizes readers with the life of the Norwegian Roma and the photographs Gaare has taken of them.
"The Romani community in Norway is, compared to the Czech one, a small community of about 600 -700 people. However, I would say that the Norwegian standard of living is mostly higher," he says.
The photographer sees the Roma path to better coexistence with the majority as one of respect and tolerance: "The majority society should not be surprised that the Roma are skeptical about all of their various efforts or projects. Their historical experience with discrimination and rejection has lasted decades."
- Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner criticizes Norway for taking Romani children into care
- Norway apologizes to Roma for WWII-era discrimination, promises compensation
- Parallel worlds: The life of Romani people in Norway
- Norway: Reconstruction of government offices damaged by ultra-right terrorism
- Norway: Terrorist Breivik establishing Fascist Party, wants to run for Parliament
- Norway: Thousands of young Muslims protest Islamist terrorists from ISIS
- Norway preparing law to make life in prison possible for Breivik
- EXPO: Mass murderer from Norway was member of Nazi web forum
- Czech expert says haters' attention is fixating on Roma again, "migration" as a subject is over
- Czech President Havel protested against the wall separating non-Roma from Roma on Matiční Street 20 years ago
- Pavel Botoš: Who will stop the use of terms like "cigoši" in the Czech Republic?
- Iveta Bílková: Czech society should not tolerate words like "Cigán", "Cigoši", etc.
- Roma are most frequently targeted by hatred on the Czech Internet, experts say the law applies online too
- Czech Govt report on the state of the Romani minority estimates 830 ghettos with 127 000 inhabitants in the regions
- Slovakia: Café Európa discusses underrepresentation of Romani people in politics
- International Romani amateur boxing match won by team from Slovakia
- Norway: Oslo City Council wants to ask Government for a memorial to Holocaust victims of Romani origin
- Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová has breakfast with Romani students
- VIDEO: Ostentatious homes built by Roma community in Romania reflect their desire for prestige
- Jozef Miker: Those who care about the homeless in the Czech Republic are bringing them food for free