Documenting Madrid's Romani community with photographer Michael Damanti | When in Spain episode 65

Updated: Sep 16, 2020

Listen to the episode using the player below or on your favourite poscast app.

In this episode of the When in Spain podcast I talk to Mike Damanti, a professional photographer from the United States who moved to Madrid five years ago.

While on a quest for artistic inspiration in the Spanish capital, Mike came across Madrid’s Romani community.

Mike Damanti with a group of ladies from Madrid's Romani community
Mike Damanti with Madrid's Romani community

Photographing them over many years and documenting the Romani community’s lives living on the streets of Madrid, he slowly became accepted into their circle and soon developed deep friendships.

A Romani girl sleeping on a Madrid pavement with plastic cup in hand
A Romani girl sleeping on a Madrid pavement

“The Madrid Romani have found a friend and an ally and they are the best thing that has happened to me in Spain.”

Being allowed into their lives and sharing their moments of happiness along with their darkest hours, has allowed Mike to produce a touching insight into the Romani way of life through his photos.

Photographer Mike Damanti with a group of Romani ladies
Photographer Mike Damanti with his Romani friends

Mike has since become an advocate for Romani rights, and has talked about the issue at Madrid for Refugees while also exhibiting his photography which has helped give the Romani community more visibility and challenge people’s perception of who they are and how they live.

Romani lady holding cardboard Free Wifi sign
Free WiFi

To see Mike’s street photography of the Romani community please visit his website It is worth looking at the photos while listening to this podcast episode, as Mike and me refer to some of the photos during the interview.

Want more? Check out Mike’s Instagram and Madrid Street Photography Facebook Group

Also, if you would like to get involved with the Roma Project in Madrid or you would like a private photographic tour of Madrid please contact Mike at

Four Romani girls dressed in bright clothes in Madrid
Romani girls in Madrid