I formed a style by making æsthetic decisions, and examining the past efforts of others at portraying minorities. Some of those portrayals were successful, others allowed cultural prejudice to colour result. Further, I needed a title for the project. The Roma middle class and professional class of the Czech lands had been decimated by the Nazi killing machine. I had my metaphor. “RomaRising” appealed to me, because, by some miracle, there was a phoenix of a new middle class of Roma a half-century later.
And, I had something of my own to bring to the table. In my commercial work, I am a portraitist. The use of studio lighting, plus black and white media give a respectful and unemotional view of Roma who are accomplished in terms society can respect. The pressure non-Roma might feel when observing these portraits is thereby greatly eased. This is an opportunity to look deeply, for what might be the first time, into the visage of a fellow-citizen who happens to be Roma. My photos challenge only stereotype. They are quiet and respectful, inviting contemplation.
Chad Evans Wyatt