Gypsy Pilgrimage – Camargue, France

© Viviana PerettiThe third weekend of October, the saints Mary Jacobé and Mary Salomé are celebrated in Saintes Maries de la Mer, a small village in the heart of the Camargue, South of France. Gypsies coming from all over the region carry the Saints in procession to the beach for the blessing of the sea. Surrounded by the believers, the Arlesians, the cowboys wearing the traditional costume, and pilgrims, the Saints are blessed by the Bishop.

The emblem of the region is the Camargue Cross, composed of three elements: an anchor, a cross, and a heart, representing the three cardinal virtues of hope, faith, and charity. The unusual shape of the upper cross reproduces the trident-shaped tool used by the gardians, the ubiquitous cowboys who make up a large part of Camargue’s cultural legacy. The anchor does double duty, symbolizing the fishermen of the region.© Viviana Peretti © Viviana Peretti© Viviana Peretti© Viviana Peretti© Viviana Peretti© Viviana Peretti© Viviana Peretti© Viviana Peretti© Viviana Peretti© Viviana Peretti© Viviana Peretti 2013© Viviana Peretti

Author: Viviana Peretti

Viviana Peretti is an Italian freelance photographer based between Bogota and New York where in 2010 she graduated in Documentary Photography and Photojournalism from the International Center of Photography (ICP). In 2000, after graduating Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Anthropology from the University of Rome, she moved to Colombia where she completed an MA in Journalism and spent years working as a freelance photographer. Viviana has received fellowships and awards from the International Center of Photography, CNN, the Fondation Bruni-Sarkozy in France, FotoVisura, Sony, the World Photography Organization in London, the Moscow International Foto Awards, the Camargo Foundation and the Bogliasco Foundation in the US, and the Colombian Ministry of Culture, among others. In 2010, she has been selected for the Eddie Adams Workshop in New York. In 2013, Viviana has been an Artist-in-Residence at L’École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie (ENSP) in Arles, France. In 2014, she has been elected Photographer of the Year at the Sony World Photography Awards' Arts & Culture category, has won the American Photography 30 in the US, and her work has been selected at The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize in London. In 2015, Viviana has been a Camargo Foundation Fellow in France and in 2017 she has been a Bogliasco Foundation Fellow in Italy. Her work has been exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Rita K. Hillman Gallery in New York, the Kkien Atelier in Milan, the MACRO Museum in Rome, the Museo Archivo de la Fotografía in Mexico City, and the Museum of Art and Culture in Bogota, among others. Viviana's photographs have been published by a number of international media outlets including The New York Times, Newsweek, BBC, CNN, New York Magazine, El Mundo, Vice, Le Journal de la Photographie, and L'Espresso.