He became curious when he noticed that one of them was barefoot, even though it was late October. So, while he was approaching them, he understood that they may be gypsies: probably Romani or Sinti. Basically, two individuals that usually people do not want to meet to avoid being robbed or simply annoyed by.
He wasn’t sure what to do, to take some pictures or to go away? Probably because of his respect for underprivileged people, or because of his fear of facing and dealing with two young criminals, he decided not to take pictures and leave.
However, after just a few metres, he saw a scene that he absolutely couldn’t miss: a boy (the one with shoes) in front of him, staring at him and, in the background, a woman who was watching them both.
He got the camera and took a picture. Immediately his first thought was how to justify himself for what he had just done, he did not know whether to smile or to attack the boy verbally if he tried to bother him for the photo. But he actually had a wonderful surprise: the boy smiled and invited him to take more pictures of himself, his brother (the barefoot one) and the rest of his family. So, while he was shooting, he started talking to them, trying to figure out what they were doing there.
They started telling him about their caravan that got burnt down, and that for this reason they no longer had anywhere to live. Only then Elio realised that many parts of their bodies were burnt, and it became terribly evident when, in a corner, he saw their mother, whose nose was completely burnt and deformed. The following days he went back to that place and met other members of the family: a boy almost completely burnt, and a girl who had to walk on crutches.
Elio has wonderful memories of the family that, despite a turbulent life, has been able to laugh and smile with him. He met with them many times, but it has now been a while since he has seen them. He just wishes that everything is going well for the “happy homeless family”.
About the author:
Elio Cremi was born in 1957. He lives and works in Rome (IT) as photographer. He has always been fascinated by people on the street, photographing since he was very young.