“I love the strange split between the old and the new world, as well as between magic and the internet,” says photographer Lucia Sekerkova about her four-year project capturing the vrăjitoare, or witches, of Romania’s Wallachian Roma community. Working with ethnologist Ivana Šusterová, the pair have documented how ancient traditions have transitioned into the modern world, through savvy social media promotion and live-streamed rituals.
The Wallachian Roma people were formerly nomadic groups who moved across Europe until it was made illegal, explains Lucia. Once banned by the communist regime, a vrăjitoare’s work is defined by fortune-telling and spell-casting and has seen a distinct upsurge in Romania in recent years. Working with Ivana, an expert in the everyday life and culture of Wallachian Roma people, was a huge boon to the project, especially given her language skills. “This group has many traditional norms, specific forms of behaviour and its own community rules and laws. I think that people should know about them and respect them before they just demand something from them,” says Lucia.