photography and multimedia journalism association

SMALL THIN GYPSY WEDDING

The word "Gypsy", in the minds of many, evokes images of beggers, frauds and thieves using handicapped children to appeal to the mercy - and wallets - of passersby, only to collect money for wealthy lives. A "gypsy wedding", can raise even more unflattering stereotypes, in part due to British and American documentary series' like "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding".

But the reality of the Romanian Romani families living in the shantytowns of Wroclaw, Poland's suburbs is quite different. People live in simple, modest conditions with poor sanitation and crumbling infrastrucure. But they cultivate their traditional, family-based way of life and seem to live happy and free.

These pictures are from Tuca and Telika's wedding. They travelled to Wroclaw to get married because Tuca's family is homeless and could not organize the wedding party in Gdansk, Poland where they live in tents, hidden from view. They used to have a small settlement of shacks, similar to those in Wroclaw, but the municipal authorities in Gdansk had them demolished in 2014. From this time on, Tuca's family has had problems finding places to rent and live. The family spent about 600 PLN - or 140 EURO to organize a wedding party for dozens of family members and friends.

The future of this shantytown in Wroclaw on Kamienskiego Street is uncertain. Another similar Romani settlement on Paprotna Street was demolished on orders from the county's building inspector just ten days after this wedding.

Text and photographs by Przemysław Kozłowski / TESTIGO Documentary

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