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ONE PHOTO – ONE STORY

25.12.2022

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“In 2003, Stern commissioned a number of photojournalists for a special issue on how Christmas is celebrated in different communities across the world. As I was well known for my Roma work, I was asked for a reportage about ‘a Roma Christmas’.

I went to Belgrade and got to know David, who drove me around the city and wanted me to photograph his tattoos. We became friends and I was invited to his home on the 7th of January, for a traditional Orthodox Christmas. I arrived at 4am, to be his first visitor and symbolically light the fire with an oak branch. We sat drinking vodka for several hours until first light. Eventually, his family woke up, and then his parents and relatives arrived. David said, he had been in all sorts of trouble as an adolescent, but had grown out of it, adding ‘don’t worry about my brother, but be careful of my brother-in-law’. At 10am we all sat down for Christmas dinner; David looked at me and somewhat accusingly said ‘so when are you going to take the f*****g picture of me and my tattoos then?’. To which I replied ‘what about right now?’ In a trice their shirts were ripped off. This photo made a double page for the Christmas edition.”

Image and text: © Nigel Dickinson
Equipment: Leica M6 with Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 Asph.
© Edmond Terakopian

Nigel Dickinson

Born in Great Britain, Nigel Dickinson is a documentary photographer, photojournalist and film maker. He graduated from Sheffield University in 1982 with a BA in Communication Arts, Photography and Film. In 1993, he began documenting Roma communities around the world, with the work being exhibited at the Festival Les Rencontres D'Arles, among others. He has been broadly published and received numerous awards, including a World Press Award. Dickinson lives between Paris and UK.

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