Early 20th century photographs of European gypsies

Arthur Thesleff seems to have burnt most film further east, but there’s a nice snap of some early Andalusians.

Pia Laskar writes that a British colleague called Arthur Thesleff (1871-1920) “the greatest living authority on the gypsy problem” and comments on the ends served by such images then and now. Most of the photos appear to be of residents of Central Europe and the Balkans, but there’s one family portrait of Andalusian gypsies. As documents of an ideal, they form an interesting counterpoint to Thesleff’s photos of the utopian Finnish colony he founded in Argentina in 1906. Here‘s an interesting introduction by Teuvo Peltoniemi to this and other settlements. (Re articulate northern European travellers with a particular interest in southern European gypsies: I still haven’t managed to get hold of Jan Cremer Senior‘s reporting from 1930s Spain. His photographs and descriptions of 1920s Balkan gypsies were certainly a lot more lively than Thesleff’s, and it would be interesting to discover what he made of these lands.)

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