Andalusia’s traditions are strongly influenced by gypsy culture. These gypsies came from India and Egypt centuries ago and are now integrated into the local society, living in houses just like the other Spaniards.
There are also gypsy families from Eastern Europe that visit Spain and wander from place to place to make a living. They travel from feria (fair) to feria to sell roses or balloons, shine shoes and read palms. I decided that in order to cover the phenomenon of the feria, it was also important to show the lives of these people.
Despite the short distance between the feria and the gypsy campsite, there is a complete change of scenery. You leave all beauty behind, and signs of poverty are everywhere. It can be quite intimidating. But instead of hiding my camera, a normal reflex in situations like this, I do the opposite. I relax.
With my camera around my neck, it is obvious that I am a photographer. I believe it is this display of openness, of having nothing to hide, that helps avoid any type of hostility. I talk to the first man I see and take my time. I talk to the second, and without taking any photos I head back to the feria. Every day I return for 15 to 30 minutes. Slowly I begin taking pictures, but never without asking permission first. It was always granted.
I have chosen this photo because it shows the presence of the feria, which is only a stone’s throw away. Just close your eyes and imagine this woman one minute later in the exact same pose, but now surrounded by women in flamenco dresses, noble men sipping a sherry on their purebred horses and very loud music.