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Mondes tsiganes

Directed by Ilsen About, Mathieu Pernot, and Adèle Sutre

Gypsies have been good clients for photographs used for forensic identification. Care was always taken so their anthropomorphic data (including “simultaneous print of all fingers together, and not rolled one after another”), and their police records, were up to date. But informers were not the only ones interested in them. Their energy, their freedom, their music fascinated persons like prince Roland Bonaparte, the young Swiss historian Friedel Bohny Reiter, who documented their community in the prison camp of Rivesaltes in 1943, or well-known photographers such as François Kollar, Erwin Blumenfeld, Roger Schall or Denise Bellon. This book, that accompanies an exhibition at the Musée national de l’histoire de l’immigration (National Museum on the History of Immigration) in Paris and covers a century of representation, underlining a few specific individuals, such as Emile Savitry, a friend of Django Reinhardt’s, Jacques Léonard, and writer, pastor, ethnographer and photo-reporter Matéo Maximoff. Mathieu Pernot, who followed the destiny of the Gorgan family of Arles for twenty years, gives a few keys on the reports photography makes of the Gypsy universe.

Mondes tsiganes, directed by Ilsen About, Mathieu Pernot, and Adèle Sutre, Actes Sud, 2018, 192 p., €29.

Mondes tsiganes - Directed by Ilsen About, Mathieu Pernot, and Adèle Sutre

Review published in the newsletter #508 - from 29 March 2018 to 4 April 2018

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