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I’m calling this photo “Gypsy.” This scarf was a gift from one of my aunts at my sister’s wedding a few years ago. These beautiful scarves are traditionally used in Assyrian dances and at Assyrian weddings and other celebrations but I couldn’t help but conjure up images in my head of the dancing gypsy archetype so often portrayed in popular culture as I was editing. The somewhat mysterious and distrustful look in her decorated eye also played into that because of the historical persecution and forced assimilation of the Romani people.
I imagined a young Romani woman, largely insulated from the outside world and traveling safe among her people, suddenly approached by a stranger; Someone who looks different from anyone she has ever seen. What would she do? Would she run and hide? No. Her people do not run. They do not hide. What she doesn’t realize is that she too looks unlike any other person this stranger has ever met.
So they both just stand there, quietly assessing each other with mild suspicion on the one hand, and abject fascination on the other.
**EDIT** A couple people have questioned my use of the word “gypsy” and I realized when I went back to re-read the story behind the photo that my reason for using that particular word was unclear. As I noted in my caption, the story behind the photo is that of two people (the woman in the photo) and another, seeing each other for the first time, and the title of the photo was meant to be from the stranger’s perspective. I am aware of the historical origins of this word, but It was in absolutely no way intended to be derogatory, and I think context matters here. I apologize to those who were offended by its use.