Survivor of the Holocaust

93 years old, Raymond Gurême, historical figure of the Gypsy community and former resistance and deported of the Second World War. He is a survivor of the Roma Genocide, escaping from nine concentration camps, and is a former member of the French resistance.

He was born in 1925 into a family of French Manush Travellers and was brought up on the road; following the circus around France and Belgium. He started training in the circus at the age of two, but it came to an end in August 1941 when French police placed him and his family in a concentration camp. This would be the first time Mr Gureme escaped from a concentration camp; using his acrobat skills he learnt from the circus. After escaping he stole food to throw back over the wall – keeping his family alive. Despite this he was soon recaptured and put in a different camp and lost his family, finding them again after seven years, in Belgium in 1952. He and his family then moved back to France.

When I met Raymond and I heard his story, I had tears in my eyes. Very inspiring human being. I was honoured to photograph such a very strong and inspiring character.

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Portrait of Raymond Gurême, Appleby Horse Fair, 2019

Gurême family. Raymond is the only one who survived the II World War and lives in France until now.

From somewhere to nowhere.

It has been one year since I graduated. After applying three times to Middlesex University, my goal was finally completed. I felt extremely happy and lost at the same time. The question I constantly asked myself was- What’s next? I had no plans and no goals. Over the next few months, I walked from somewhere to nowhere with my camera taking some random pictures and hoping to find the answer to my question. There were days when I felt disappointed and angry. On those moments, I grabbed my camera repeating the same thing over and over again. Looking through the view finder and listening the shutter going off “click… click… click…” It was like a pain relief. A way of letting go all the bad feelings and emotions before they took control over my head. As soon I put the camera down, without looking through the pictures I took, everything went back to normal.

Hungry for inspiration.

Last year, in the middle of grey and gloomy November, I sat down in my bedroom with a blank piece of paper and a pen. I started to write down and visualize my new goals. Can you imagine my main goal written with a big capital letters on the first page? I am sure you can- I WANT TO BE PHOTOGRAPHER. Sounds very easy isn't it? However, I didn’t want it to be easy, so I started to expand all my thoughts, ideas and the most importantly, deadlines. Thanks to this exercise, I finally became hungry for inspiration.

Over the last two moths I’ve been working with the Gypsy and Traveller community based in Hertfordshire. Currently I am at the stage of building the trust and getting to know the society. I’ve been invited by Sherrie Smith to photograph Appleby Horse Fair, where all the Gypsies and Travellers gather together in the town of Appleby in Cumbria, North England.

In two days we will be on our way to Appleby. I am very excited for this event. Another opportunity and new experience. I’ve got a feeling that me and my camera will have very busy, productive and unforgettable time! I will share with you my little road trip within the next few days on my Instagram and hopefully here when I get time.

In the mean time… do what makes you happy!


Sherrie with her daughter Scarlett, 2019


My journey

Photo by Joanna Kuncewicz© 2017

Photo by Joanna Kuncewicz© 2017

Dear reader,

First of all, I wanted to thank you for looking through my work and reading this post. I’ve been thinking about it for a while to run a photography blog and share with you my passion. I believe the idea of creating a photography blog will help me to improve my work and the most importantly, I will be able to connect with you and share my ideas.

I’ve been thinking about my first post and what should I write about to make you read it to the end! Writing is not my strength at all, so hopefully it will improve in a while- this is another reason why I want to start a blog. I decided to keep my blog very simple and easy to read. It will be more like a personal diary. The main thing I want to focus on is photography, so probably you’ll see here more images than text.

It is only the beginning (…)

My journey with art began very early. At the age of 10, I started to develop my skills in painting and drawing. In 2007, when I moved to England, I studied art and design where I began to experiment with different forms of art. I knew that I wanted to be an artist because I felt good about what I was doing and that was the only thing I could do well. However, I was not sure which path should I take until I stepped into the black and white darkroom. Suddenly, I realised that photography is something that makes me feel like being in a different world. My world. The world that I want to explore and discover by using my camera and what the nature gave us, the light. I am drawn into a very ordinary and conventional moments in our everyday life, which I document by exploring portraiture and landscape photography.

Sometimes, I wonder and I ask myself- Why I am doing it? What is the purpose of it? Will it have any impact on something or someone? Then I remind myself the answer. It is very simple and easy. I am extremely passionate about what I do. I want to explore the world as bad as I want to breath. My curiosity of the stories is huge like our beautiful planet. However, I won't have enough time to explore it all. It is only the beginning of my journey. Let’s see where my eyes and legs are going to take me.

Will you join me to follow my story?



All copyrights reserved by Sandra Mickiewicz© 2019