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Roma of Skopelos

Beatrice Hamblett | Skopelos, Magnesia, Greece

Konstandina, wife of Mitsos, the family head, enjoys a quiet moment in the basement of the car repair shop where their family lives.

Each summer, a large extended family of Roma camp out in an olive grove on the island of Skopelos, Greece. Their family is vast and reaches into many towns on mainland Greece. Last May, I drove into their compound and asked if I could photograph them. All summer, I visited the family frequently. Whether they were eating, sleeping, playing, working—all was open territory for photographing. With time, I learned this family, like all Roma, was tightly-knit, kept to themselves, inter-married, were traders, and spoke their own language. I was drawn to their different lifestyle and the ability of all Roma to survive despite centuries of oppression and exclusion. As the weeks passed, I realized I was privy to another aspect of their lives—the rich moments of family life shared through story-telling, celebrations, and laughter. In my photos I wish to celebrate this human side and dig deeper beyond the caricature of Gypsy as traveler, thief, and fortune-teller. Perhaps in a time when the world is driven by consumerism and acquisition, we can learn from their alternative lifestyle and rich family life.

Beatrice Hamblett, a fine-art photographer, lives and works in Washington, DC and Skopelos, Greece. She exhibits her photographs extensively both nationally and internationally and has traveled repeatedly through remote areas of Greece digging deep to reveal the authenticity of her subjects. Recently, she successfully funded a Kickstarter campaign to support her book: “Daily Bread: Stories from Rural Greece” a collection of photographs and stories culled from 10 years of road trips through Greece.

Her work has been featured in Athens News, Athens Voice, Washington Post (2008, 2010), as well as published in numerous other magazines, newspapers, and websites. In 2009, she was the recipient of a grant from the Washington DC Commission of the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) that helped make possible many of the photographs of Daily Bread. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Columbia University, New York, NY.

Hamblett shoots with film and a medium-format camera and makes hand-made gelatin silver prints, presenting her themes in a modern context free of nostalgia. Her work is also included in the U.S. Federal Reserve Board Art Collection in Washington, DC and the Embassy of Greece Art Collection in Washington, DC.

Greek Embassy, Washington, DC

Greek Consulate, New York, NY

bhamblett@mac.com

beatricehamblett.com

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