All posts tagged: travellers

Unsentimental portraits of Ireland’s most notorious travelling communities

At best, images of Britain and Ireland’s travelling communities are romanticised; bow-topped caravans populated by gruff adults and grubby-faced children. At worst, travellers are characterised as crime-addicted, violent gangsters, living a law onto themselves, taking what they want without a moment’s thought for the rest of this Sceptered Isle. Northern Irish photographer Chris Barr, who earned his MA in photography from the University of Ulster, wanted more. He wanted to understand who these ancient, prideful, private communities are. And so he has spent the last ten years photographing travellers throughout Ireland as part of his ongoing series Katabasis.  The project began as an exploration of the horse within traveller culture. “The horse has long been at the heart of the travelling community”, says Barr. “I was interested in how travellers identified their horses. It’s a system handed down from father to son and sits outside the formal methods normally used to identify horses.” The project evolved into an exploration of gangsterism within the travelling community, focusing on the infamous Irish traveller Pa Rubber Óg O’Reilly. Barr recalls his …

2015-12-01T14:41:22+00:00

The squatters, ravers and travellers who exported British festival culture to Europe

In 1992, thousands of New Age travellers, ravers and gypsies converged on Castlemorton Common in Worcestershire for a week-long free festival. Widely reported in the press, the event attracted an estimated 20,000 to 40,000 people and became impossible for the police to close down. Tom Hunter, then a student at the London College of Printing, was involved in the free party scene but somehow missed the event; he soon realised he’d let a seminal moment pass him by and vowed not to do so again.     Castlemorton led directly to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, however, which outlawed outdoor parties that included “sounds wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats” in the UK. So, three years later, Hunter and a squad of fellow squatters were on their way to Europe in a decommissioned double-decker bus, complete with sound system and provisions. Over the ensuing months, the group travelled to folk festivals in France, hippie gatherings in Austria and beach parties in Spain, with the bus – Le Crowbar – doubling …

2015-11-03T12:47:05+00:00

BJP Staff