Vrăjitoare - witches, fortune tellers, healers
02 Feb, 2022
Many Romanian Roma women identify themselves with such descriptions. Me and an ethnologist, Ivana Šusterová, have decided to make a fusion between photographic work and an ethnological study. For over four years, we have been researching the world of Romanian Roma women who professionally practice fortune telling and witchcraft. I try to record the consequences of modernisation, which has inherently transformed this profession, which in itself balances on the thin divide between mysticism and showmanship for the client who themselves seek them out on the basis of advertisement in the media or on social networks.
Lucia Sekerková Bláhová (*1991 Slovakia) studied Advertising photography at Faculty of Multimedia Communications of Tomas Bata University in Zlin in the Czech Republic. During her studies, she has been documenting the life of Wallachian Roma women in Romania. She has received a student grant IGA FMK UTB in 2017 and together with an ethnologist Ivana Šusterová, they combined their work in a book “Women selling hope”(PositiF, 2017) which includes both their photos and essays. The book was displayed in Benaki Museum during the Athens Photo Festival in Greece and at the festival Les Rencontres de la photographie in Arles in France, at Kunsthalle during the Month of Photography in Bratislava in Slovakia. In the years 2018-2019 project “Vrăjitoare” was presented as a solo exhibition in Czech Photo Centre in Prague, in Fiducia gallery in Ostrava, in the Museum of Romani Culture Brno and in Central European House of Photography in Bratislava, Slovakia. It was shortlisted for the New East Photo Prize 2018 and exhibited in Calvert Foundation 22 in London. She was announced as the winner of Feature Shoot Emerging Photography Award 2018 and as the Personality of Czech Photography in the category up to 30 years. It was also shortlisted for others, such as Portraits - Hellerau Photography Award in Germany, Poznań Photo Diploma Award in Poland. Her project “Vrăjitoare” has also been published in various magazines such as Foto, Fotograf, Respekt, Lens Culture, Calvert Journal, Indie, Huck, Re:public, Vice, Feature Shoot, LK magazine, F-stop, Wired, Refinery29, Denník N, Gente di Fotografia, Bird in Flight, It’s Nice That, Society, Marie Claire.