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Hidden: Life with California's Roma Families (Hardcover)
Photojournalist Cristina Salvador Klenz takes us behind the scenes of an ethnic minority largely unknown and yet routinely reduced to stereotypes by mainstream America.
Since their exodus from India more than a thousand years ago, the Roma (widely known by the exonym Gypsies, which is increasingly considered an offensive pejorative) have migrated all over the globe, having survived centuries of discrimination and persecution along their travels.
Klenz's work -- the first of its kind -- features various nations of Roma in America, including the Kalderash and Machvaya, whose ancestors were kept as slaves in Eastern Europe for 500 years; the Xoraxay, whose people arrived in California after extended stays in Chile; the Mihais, who immigrated to the United States from Colombia; and the Ludar, who were forbidden from speaking their native tongue while enslaved and therefore had lost the Romani language entirely by the time they encountered Klenz.
Beginning in 1990, Klenz spent several years with Roma families in California; documenting their lives on black-and-white, 35mm film; and developing the film in her home bathroom-turned-dark room. With a foreword by Ian Hancock, widely considered the world's preeminent Romani scholar, Hidden provides historical as well as social context for the book's 120 photographs, all lavishly printed in Italy and published by Brown Paper Press.
Given their widely divergent paths to the United States, many Romani-American nations today have little social contact with each other, but the groups have been brought together in this rare, intimate collection of photographs so that readers may gain a greater understanding of and appreciation for the history, celebrations, and struggles that bind Romanies together.