About the publication
Dutch documentary photographer Mike Roelofs began capturing the living conditions of the Roma (“gypsy”) community in Romania in 2008. With the subsequent photo exhibition Roelofs won first prize in the category “Portrait Series” of the 2008 Zilveren Camera (Silver Camera Award). Realizing that the complete story of the Roma in Romania had not yet been told, Roelofs sought the cooperation of anthropologist Fanny Jol to interview Roma from various backgrounds throughout Transylvania. They made four visits to Romania in 2009 and 2010.
The result is Resilience, a strong visual and textual report now published as a book and exhibition. The launch of the book and opening of the four-day exhibition took place on Friday evening, 24 September, 2010, at Strijp-S in Eindhoven (NL).
Mike Roelofs: “In Romania everything seems to be drenched in a pastel hue, from people’s dusty clothes to the walls of almost every building. Depending on the time of day, the light changes… more so when it starts to rain. For me as a photographer, this is completely fascinating! The only thing that would stop me was when it got dark.”
The recent state of affairs in France has overshadowed the true situation of the Roma in Romania: the majority of the 2.4 million Romanian Roma live in conditions only to be described by EU standards as harrowing. Therefore, the French Roma who are being deported back to Romania could be labeled as economic refugees. Throughout the latest media coverage of the Roma plight, no effort appears to have been made to invite individual Roma to speak.
Resilience is a project which does just that. The objective of this research is two-fold: to provide insights to a broad audience into the living conditions of the Roma, and to examine how different people deal with their problems. The title, Resilience, is defined as “the ability of a person to rebound from pressure by adapting to problematic situations through flexibility and perseverance”. To best demonstrate this human quality, focus was aimed at the “invisible” Roma in Romania: a heterogenic group which is often poorer than poor.
“These surly and headstrong people have shown so much of themselves. With this book nothing more or less is being told than what we witnessed. We went to Romania with a lot of questions, and though we still have many, we received many answers. Now we need to share these answers, especially with what is going on in France. It’s time that people get to know the Roma – not as a group, but as the individuals that they are,” says Mike Roelofs, the photographer.
About the design process
Autobahn was involved in this project from its beginning in 2009. It took about two years between the first ideas and the publication of the book. Together with Mike Roelofs and anthropologist Fanny Jol we took part in the editing process of the book.
This book is designed with the highest regard for the photographs. The dimensions of the book are derived from the framesizes of the original films so no cropping of the photographs was needed.
Moreover, in consultation with Lecturis and lithographer Peter Paul Huf the paper was carefully selected after many proofprints, resulting in vivid colors and details. The book was printed on 115 gram Gardapat Kiara paper, in a print run of 500.
The two Rs on the cover – the content is typeset in Utopia and Trade Gothic – are printed in multiply, causing a third R to emerge. This new shape is blind stamped on the front and back of the book, so it seems as if the blind stamp runs throughout the book.
This R stands for the ability to create new prospects from our surroundings. A resilient way of thinking and living.
The Resilience book launch and exhibition opening took place at Strijp-S, Klokgebouw, Eindhoven on 24 September, 2010. This exhibition ran exclusively from 24 – 27 September, 2010, in a custom-designed factory hall. Marin Adalbert Farcasiu, a young Roma from Romania, shared his story with the audience during opening night.
Buy the book
Each copy of Resilience is handnumbered 1 – 500, €37.50 excluding postage.
160 pp | 80 color photographs | Language: English | ISBN: 978-‐90-‐815848-‐1-‐4