Carlo Gianferro has discovered a profound – almost religious – ethnic performance enacted by proud and wealthy Roma people deep within their own private quarters; staged amidst ancient furniture, tapestries, paintings, sacred icons, porcelains, stairs, mirrors, and so much more. Their accumulated wealth is demonstrably on display as prestige items in their palatial homes and villas, distributed throughout expansive rooms and in corridors and foyers leading to and from them – and yet abruptly offset by empty spaces awaiting to be filled.
Pictures of women sitting on elegant sofas or painted in familiar moments, young men lying on beds in luxurious rooms, old women lost in memories, proud parents admiring their children. Portraits of people wanting to demonstrate they have found and built a place to live and the future in our society without losing gypsy values that their ancestors verbally and with all their heart handed down.
These are unprecedented portraits of a long underground and secretive society suddenly and mysteriously willing to surface and make an extravagant ritual announcement to the outside world of their material achievement and affluence.
– Carlo Gianferro's series, Roma Interiors, won 1st prize for Portrait Stories at the World Press Photo Awards 2009, and was also shortlisted for the Grand Prix at Fotofestiwal 2009, the 8th International Festival of Photography in Lodz, Poland. Text reproduced by kind permission of Fotofestiwal 2009.