Gypsies. Different People, Just Like Us by Tomasz Tomaszewski, a Polish press photographer whose work has been published in top magazines around the globe, depicts everyday lives of the Roma minority in 11 different countries, mostly in Eastern Europe.
The origins of the Roma people were once wrongly associated with Egypt, hence the colloquial name ‘Gypsies’. As historians have proved though, the roots of the Roma run back a thousand years to India. “It is the Indian factors, linguistic, genetic, and cultural that different Rom populations share that makes us at heart one people,” says Ian Hancock, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and a leading adviser on Rom affairs. “But it is the more recently acquired non-Indian factors that divide us.”
As Tomaszewski explains, ‘beyond the stereotypes and cliches, little is known to most of the world of the customs and traditions of the Roma people. Traditionally perceived as strangers, surrounded by distrust, they have always existed in isolated groups on the margins of developing European communities. But their contribution to the general cultural heritage, especially in music, dance and various handicrafts, is unquestionable.’