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Gypsies in quarantine

by Curator Martin Krystynek MQEP - SLOVAKIA
Published the 1st of May 2020

We all know Martin for his beautiful portraits and sensual nudes.

But taking this kind of unhappy reality pictures of our society is also part of his work. 

Here is what he wants to share with us.


The corona crisis has changed common stereotypes for all of us. We currently spend most of our time with my colleague Jan in the settlements in Spiš and we try to capture everything interesting that is happening in them. The poor settlement is also one large settlement where stories take place.

We have been working in an extremely risky environment for several weeks.

It's always about not exalting yourself. We are friendly and trying to listen to them carefully. They have a different way of life, a different culture, customs. Sometimes we speak to them in their words and the fact that they have known us for years has some relationship between us. But I can't quite define it. I think we respect each other. Sometimes they are theatrical, sometimes sad, often funny, but I perceive them by one of us.

Sometimes it bothers them that they can't say everything that bothers them. They do not like to show the misery in which they live. It's different than years ago. They used to show us their dilapidated huts and complain. Now it's different. They are ashamed of many things and do not like to expose it "to the admiration of the whole world." I feel that many of them want to live differently and are trying. But they can't get out of it. It's a vicious circle.

I protect myself, I wash everything every day, my hands are already dried from disinfection. I don't even remember the classic handshake any more. To be sure, I volunteered. Psycho hygiene is just as important these days as drapes, gloves and the like. I'm afraid that if all this ends, many people will need the help of psychologists. We live in uncertainty and no one knows how it will end.

I guess we're all a little more sensitive now. Sometimes I read all the symptoms of COVID 19 again and when I do not find myself in them I am satisfied. I don't have a single fever pill at home. When I realized that something would be good to have in stock, everything was gone from the pharmacy.

People see the media and the camera as a way to shout something around the world. I often feel that they are taking us as an office to solve their problem. Settlers feel a loss of freedom, and they are afraid because they do not know who among them has a positive test and generally have little information. All they know is that their government and hygienists have closed them down, and we are going to watch them. I've noticed that the security forces patrolling the quarantined settlements are calm, the men polite, and trying to help them whenever possible.

None of us would like to be locked up in one place for a few weeks. But even the poorest in the settlements know that we are on the same ship and we have to endure it. They rely on those who decide to think well of them. And I think they like the fact that a dangerous virus is fair, at least in that it doesn't differentiate between skin colour or a luxury villa and a shack.

Martin Krystynek





























Unfortunately, even during these dark days, and probably due to the psychologic impact of Covid-19, human dramas happen here just like everywhere.  A few images taken on the 29th of April straight on the crime scene.









wonderful images!
Impressive work Martin !
Excellent documentary work Martin!
Excellent reportage
so good
Impressive document and photos Martin
Awesome photos! Congratulations...
Thank you, Emine!
Very interesting reportage that introduces us to this sad story. Thanks a lot Martin and Yvette for sharing it with us. Best regards
Thanks a lot, Vito! All honour goes to Martin ...