Carlo Gianferro (b. 1970, Italy) is a freelance photographer based in Rome, Italy. He worked from 2004 to 2008 with the Romanian and Moldavian wealthy Roma communities. Two books were a result of this long term project: “Gypsy Architecture” by German Axel Menges Editions and “Gypsy Interiors” published by Italian Postcart Edizioni. In addition, Carlo has worked on personal projects in Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East. He’s now working on Italian issues exploring mental illness, exiled workers and other fragile communities. His photographs document people’s conditions and show them in an environment where the architectural setting is just as important as the human figures. Carlo has received several international awards, including first prize for his portrait stories from World Press Photo in 2009.
The images of GYPSY INTERIORS allow us to enter into the intimacy of the Roma houses where interiors are represented with its inhabitants in order to solder the connection between the life and the lived. The people, the inhabitants and the owners were photographed quickly, without prior preparation, aesthetic tricks or any special choice of clothes: what you see is what there is, what there was at the time of the shooting, what there is every day.
Women with sumptuous traditional costumes and hairstyles that have remained unchanged over time; men who owing to their dealings outside of their community wear Western clothing; youths wearing the universal fashions of today’s youth everywhere, yet all of these sharing a common background characterized by creativity, color, splendour, and cultural tradition.
GYPSY INTERIORS is above all a real and accurate portrait of current Romani/Gypsy society, which is still, as it has always been, based on the family, and the house is the backdrop against which the family is represented. Money and the home are the two main parameters which show the other members of the community the importance and power of the family. In this the Roma don’t deviate from universal motivations, but they articulate it in their homes with an innate and personal expression, with the concepts of luxury, prosperity, and especially power represented by decorative overabundance.
Colours are essential to the gypsy people and, as with the women’s costumes, colour covers everything, both the inside and the outside of the houses, making fantastic, unreal buildings - as fantastic and unreal as the dream, the desire of having a house, a stable place for a people that for hundreds of years has roamed far from its place of origin.
Freedom, and the intelligent use of it, has allowed the Roma community to redeem itself in the most obvious and confrontational way possible, using rocks, concrete, iron, wood, plaster, and metal to build these monuments to their desires, and into which they then move to live in a joyous, colourful, world of their own