A Completely Different Picture: Inciting Hatred Against Roma

In December 2008 I went to photograph the post-war reconstruction in Kosovo being done by the Italian NATO contingent that had come to keep the peace. The soldiers were rebuilding bridges, schools and roads—nearly a decade after the war had ended. In the town of Gjakova, I was told about some families living in a slum built on a garbage dump. When I went there I realized it was a story about children and how their families tried to make ends meet. They made a living recycling the garbage they lived on.

Last week out of the blue I started getting emails from all over Europe—Switzerland, Austria and Germany. Everyone was asking about a picture I had taken back on that trip to Kosovo. They wondered if I knew how my photo was being used. I realized the photo was being taken out of context. These were kids—living in the backdrop of war—who were playing around, excited to have a foreigner take their photo.

I saw a Swiss magazine using my photo to incite and fear and hatred of the Roma. They were showing a completely different picture. That was not what I had shot—not what I had seen. I saw a kid having fun with one of the few playthings that those children had.

4 Comments

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Thank you.

We should all support you in taking any actions against the illegal use of your photograph.

I wish you much success.

thanks, Livio ... you have my full support!

To use your image in this context was utterly unethical on the part of all editors involved, they should cover their faces and weep !!

cheers, Cora

It take so long time to rebuild the nation after war. Rebuilding nation is not just rebuilding houses, buildings, roads etc. Effects of war remains for a long time.

It happens frequently; unfortunately things are much too often taken out of context & people make assumptions. In this case, perhaps intentionally to promote their own ideas. Thank you for addressing the issue & clarifying the image for everyone.

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