Fotograf Magazine

Lucia Sekerková a Ivana Šusterová

Vrăjitoare – Witches, Fortune Tellers, Healers

Many Romanian Roma women identify themselves with such descriptions. In the past, fortune-telling had a strong tradition within many travelling Roma groups wandering across Europe. I, along with the ethnologist Ivana Šusterová, have decided to make a fusion between photographic work and an ethnological study. For over four years, we have been researching the world of Romanian Roma women who professionally practice fortune telling and witchcraft. I try to record the consequences of modernisation, which has inherently transformed this profession, which in itself balances on a thin divide between mysticism and showmanship for the clients, who themselves seek them out on the basis of advertisements in the media or on social networks. The old craft has been transformed into a business with great media strategies, inherited across generations. Nine-year-old girls are already starting their promotional “vrăjitoare” profiles on Facebook. Dolls are at one moment their toys, yet at any time they can transform themselves into a magical artefact with the ability to regain a client’s lost love.