Les Gitans of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer

Every year thousands of Gypsies from around the world make a pilgrimage to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in France for an annual ceremony where they venerate their patron saint Sarah. The day before the main ceremony, I set up a small portrait studio in the Place de l’Eglise courtyard and in exchange for their time and image, I gave away polaroids to anyone who agreed to pose. I was mobbed for three hours by all sorts of characters and families. A crowd had gathered to watch the growing spectacle and at some point, a film crew turned up and begin filming us. At another point I turned around and there was a semicircle of no fewer than 10 photographers photographing us. The spirit of the project was well received and most people couldn't believe they were being given something for free. The gift was an integral part of this exercise and had the desired effect of gaining me instant access to a community of people.