First Place Documentary Book * International Photography Awards 2022
In 2020 an excited young man messaged me on Facebook saying that he had spent years searching social media trying to find me. He was only a child during the years I photographed his family and we lost contact when they moved to Arizona. During the years that I spent photographing the Roma, I really bonded with many of the children. Some of the Roma families moved frequently and the children would have their parents call me with their new addresses and phone numbers. As many of the families moved out of state, we lost track of each other. However, I thought of them often, and prayed that they were doing well in their new lives.
When Jesus contacted me, I was overwhelmed with emotion, as I too had been searching for my Romani friends through Facebook. In 2021 I was finally able to reunite with most of the Xoraxay in the book. Seeing the children as grown adults with families of their own has been the most exciting part of this project. However, learning of the passing of many of the family members has caused me great sorrow.
The initial contact with Jesus, opened the window for me to connect and speak with many of the people in Hidden. It is my dream that there could be a second book following up on the families. Perhaps with Hidden 2, I can keep documenting Romani traditions, update individual portraits and also show how far many of the families have come during the last 30 years.
The top photo of Jesus in 1990 appears on page 41 of Hidden. The bottom picture is Jesus in 2021.
In 2021, I was able to photograph Natalie holding a portrait of herself as a young child wearing her mother's heels. Her photograph is on page 48 of Hidden and also on the back cover.
Jesus in 2021 holding a portrait of himself at age 12 taken in 1990 in South Gate, California.
The little boy on page 104 of Hidden is now a grown man. He is also on the back cover of the book holding hands with his cousin as she walks down the street wearing her mother's heels.
Hugo and his wife.
Matriarch Gladys, mother of eight and three of her grandchildren taken in 2021. She is the mother of many of the Xoraxay children in the book including Jesus, Hugo and Castro.
Romani Mother 2021
Castro, the young boy featured on page 49 of Hidden is now a grandparent of five children.
Matriarch mother of eight.
Romani Dance 2021