Bright Balkan Morning

Wesleyan University Press, 2002



Bright Balkan Morning documents Romani musicians and their place in the cultural ecology of northern Greece using photographs, texts, oral histories, and soundscapes. The book tells an unusual story about both “the Gypsies” and “the Balkans,” in which difficult socio-economic conditions context a mutually rewarding ritual reciprocity in the Nommos of Serres.

“In rapport with the layered texts by the Keils — Dick Blau’s amazing photographs give the book a sense of presence, the intimacy of people viewed up close and distant, always lovingly, with respect and with awe. There’s an inviting pulse here, an energy and inwardness that take human shape; rapt bodies register and make palpable an unheard music. Blau’s camera dances with its subjects and makes them real.” – Alan Trachtenberg, author of Reading American Photographs

“As with his photographic contributions to Polka Happiness, Dick Blau observes a landscape still lodged in another distant time with the unsparing eye of August Sander. His pictures of parades, weddings, wrestling matches and local musicians document vivacious life crammed with noise and glee where other cameramen might only see squalor.” – Richard Henderson, The Wire, 224 (UK) October 2002, p. 79

“Dick Blau’s gorgeous black and white photos – portraits, urban landscapes, and shots of social gatherings –provide a strong sense of place…” – Peter Margasak, The Chicago Reader

“Well, let’s acknowledge that Dick Blau has, as photographer, created an ethnographic portrait that could stand alone without any text at all. The pictures of the Rom here are worthy of being exhibited in a gallery in one of the global cities, say London. He has photographed the members of the village of Iraklia, a Balkan community of which five thousand members are Rom! This means that the Rom are not the often despised minority that they are elsewhere. And the photos of the Rom capture everything from a group at a coffee-cup stand to wedding processions with crowds beyond count!” – Green Man Review (

Visit the Bright Balkan Morning Website