Michele Pero Michele Pero

“Why do I take photographs? In the past I have tried many times to give a high-flying answer to that question. But I have never found one. The only thing I can say is that I take photographs because it gives me such great pleasure …. and I travel because I am curious.” He was born in Sansepolcro in 1970. At the age of fifteen he was introduced to the dark room and to the mystery of black and white which to this day still fascinates him, like some kind of magic that grips the soul. In 1989 he moved to Florence where he decided that he would make photography his life. He gave up his studies in biology so that he could dedicate himself full time to his career as a photographer. In 1996 he went to Milan to work in advertising photography. It was there that his portfolio of life histories was held in high regard and his photographs began to appear on the printed page. He decided to leave the photographic studio and the large view cameras in order to travel and tell stories with the Nikon.
His photos appeared in all the most important Italian magazines and national and international daily newspapers. In 1997 he gave his first personal exhibition at Sansepolcro, entitled “Albanians of Albania”. Then, his photos of the war in Kosovo became a touring exhibition from 1998 to 1999 which reached all the most important Italian towns. His photo reportage was chosen for a permanent exhibition at the Friedensmuseum in Nuernberg.
In 2003 he founded his own school of photography called The Darkroom which today prepares professional photographers every year. He has once again taken up and is expanding his projects in photo journalism, especially in the Balkans and in the science field, faces new experiences with multi medial video productions and keeps working with advertising photography.

Collections created

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Prizren's Dervish Fakirs: The Newroz ...
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
08 Jul 2015

Ancient Shiite rituals were brought into the Balkans in the 15th century during the Ottoman invasion and dominion and have been kept intact up till our day, representing a parallel and very deep-rooted Islam amongst the people. In the town of Prizren in Kosovo there is the tariqa Rufai. To celebrate the Newroz, or Nevruz, the beginning of the new year which coincides with the arrival of spring, all the dervishes in the area meet up here to celebrate a propitiatory ritual. The ritual lasts five hours and is extremely exacting. The followers must go through a great test of physical and mental exertion. The dervishes pray, dance and sing and try to attain a state of trance. At the culmination of the ritual the feats of Fakirism take place. Whilst some of the dervishes play and sing, the shaikh takes long skewers and begins to pierce the mouths of the dervishes who willingly undergo this test, beginning with the children. The older dervishes, the braver and more expert, are pierced with a real sword. A blade is placed on their throat and the shaikh climbs on top of it. The ritual ends when the dervishes remove the skewers. Just a few drops of blood appear on their cheeks.

FULL ARTICLE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

Media created

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Dervishes of Prizren 53
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Typical albanian-kosovar huts of the dervish hung at the entrance of the teqe.

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Dervishes of Prizren 52
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The pins of the dervishes, kept in the typical niche. The short ones are for the boys, the long ones for the expert dervishes.

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Dervishes of Prizren 51
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Dervishes dancing and singing deep songs, to get the trance phase. They swing back and forth while a deep sound comes from their throats. This repeated movement, togehter with the emotional songs, are able to turn them into a trance status.

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Dervishes of Prizren 50
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Dervishes dancing in a circle during the dance phase to prepare themselves for the piercing ritual.

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Dervishes of Prizren 49
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Dervishes dancing and singing deep songs, to get the trance phase. They swing back and forth, while a deep sound comes from their throats. This repeated movement, togehter with the emotional songs, are able to turn them into a trance status.

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Dervishes of Prizren 48
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. An elder dervish weakened by the pain of the sword proof.

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Dervishes of Prizren 47
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The scheik is standing on the sward, placed on the throat of an elder dervish which is proud of this proof.

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Dervishes of Prizren 46
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. An elder dervish is getting ready for the proof of the sword.

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Dervishes of Prizren 45
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Scheik Xhemali Shehu's nephew with his pin in his mouth, not satisfied is carried around standing on the sword.

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Dervishes of Prizren 43
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Scheik Xhemali Shehu checking the sword.

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Dervishes of Prizren 44
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. A young dervish is going to stand on the sword.

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Dervishes of Prizren 42
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. End of celebration, piercings have been removed, few marks on the proud faces of the dervishes witness the fakirism proof.

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Dervishes of Prizren 41
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. A dervish with his huge pin self-piercing. He put the pin against his flank, then throw himself to the ground onto the pin, so it goes deep inside of his body. The pin is a symbol of courage and the piercing demonstrated that the dervishes are brave.

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Dervishes of Prizren 39
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. A dervish with his huge pin in his mouth. No sofference, no pain, no bleeding, dervishes are proud of their traditions. The pin is a symbol of courage and the piercing demonstrated that the dervishes are brave.

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Dervishes of Prizren 40
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. A dervish with his huge pin rotating it on his throat. The pin goes down for some centimeters. No sofference, no pain, no bleeding, dervishes are proud of their traditions. The pin is a symbol of courage and the piercing demonstrated that the dervishes are brave.

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Dervishes of Prizren 38
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. A dervish with his huge pin right in the instant of self-piercing his mouth. You can see the pin coming out from inside his mouth. No sofference, no pain, no bleeding, dervishes are proud of their traditions. The pin is a symbol of courage and the piercing demonstrated that the dervishes are brave.

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Dervishes of Prizren 37
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Elder dervishes having some relax and smoking after the celebration, sitting on their typical lamb carpets in the tekke.

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Dervishes of Prizren 36
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Dervishes at the end of ritual, with their pins still inside.

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Dervishes of Prizren 35
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. A dervish with his huge pin in his mouth. No sofference, no pain, no bleeding, dervishes are proud of their traditions. The pin is a symbol of courage and the piercing demonstrated that the dervishes are brave.

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Dervishes of Prizren 34
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Scheik Xhemali Shehu's nephew proud to show his pin in his mouth. The pin is a symbol of courage and the piercing demonstrated that the dervishes are brave.

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Dervishes of Prizren 32
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Scheik Xhemali Shehu going to pierce a young dervish with a pin.

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Dervishes of Prizren 33
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Scheik Xhemali Shehu going to pierce a dervish with a pin.

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Dervishes of Prizren 31
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. A young dervish with his piercing, proudly shown. The pin is a symbol of courage and the piercing demonstrated that the dervishes are brave.

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Dervishes of Prizren 29
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Playing drums to get trance to allow fakirism phase to go smooth.

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Dervishes of Prizren 27
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The schaik gives the typical kiss before the piercing. The pin is a symbol of courage and the piercing demonstrated that the dervishes are brave.

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Dervishes of Prizren 30
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Piercing the mouth of a young dervish. The schaik of the sekt is starting the fakirism ritual with the youngest dervishes.

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Dervishes of Prizren 28
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The leader schaik of the Rufaì sekt in Prizren, Sheikh Xhemali Shehu is taking the pins.

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Dervishes of Prizren 01
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The schaik is going to prepapre the pins for the ritual.

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Dervishes of Prizren 26
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Dancing all togheter.

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Dervishes of Prizren 24
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Playing drums to get trance before piercing.

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Dervishes of Prizren 25
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Playing drums to get trance before piercing.

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Dervishes of Prizren 22
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Elder dervishes having some relax before the beginning of the celebration.

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Dervishes of Prizren 23
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Playing drums to get trance before piercing.

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Dervishes of Prizren 19
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Dervish's hands praying

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Dervishes of Prizren 20
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Dervishes sitting around in the tekke, praying. Visitors are aside.

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Dervishes of Prizren 21
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The leader schaik of the Rufaì sekt in Prizren, Sheikh Xhemali Shehu playing plates during the sung and danced phase. Dervishes start to reach the trance

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Dervishes of Prizren 17
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The tekke and dervishes sitting listening to the scheik.

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Dervishes of Prizren 18
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. An elder dervish.

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Dervishes of Prizren 15
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The leader schaik of the Rufaì sekt in Prizren, Sheikh Xhemali Shehu speeching.

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Dervishes of Prizren 16
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The typical albanian kosovar wool-made hat.