Pleasantly Chaotic: Photographing Gypsy Weddings with Arjen Zwart

Wedding party - Alemdar 2003

Wedding party – Alemdar 2003

All images are copyrighted Arjen Zwart, and are being used with permission.

The music could be heard from several blocks away. It was a comfortable volume at that distance, but as we got closer, I slid two earplugs in that would serve as my saving grace. Children in mismatched clothes ran all over the side street as a tight circle of Roma men and women danced in a circle around the bride and groom. The music was a Gypsy spin on popular tunes, and it barreled out of the speakers with the intensity of a thunderstorm. The earplugs were wisely suggested by Arjen Zwart, a Dutch photographer who invited me to this brilliantly colorful and very loud ceremony of Gypsy matrimony. He had a pair of earplugs, too, that he only removed when a Roma he knew leaned in to talk with him.

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