I have now been involved with the Irish Traveller community at Dale Farm (or Oak Lane as the residents know it) for over a year. It is amazing what a difference one year can make to your life. I went from knowing virtually nothing about this group of people who live only a few miles down the road to feeling fortunate for knowing them and becoming personally invested in their future.
I first became involved last year when I began a documentary photography project on everyday life and the sensitive political situation at Dale Farm for my photography course. Since moving to the area, I have been shocked at how socially acceptable it was to be openly prejudiced against the Travellers and I was fascinated to personally meet the individuals who have been largely demonised and dehumanised by my local community. Over the past year, I have amassed a large collection of photos, some of which I will share as the blog progresses. I do not seek to romanticise the Travellers; rather, I hope to provide an accurate and accessible record of their lives, so that their neighbours can see them as they truly are and are forced to confront their prejudices.
Here are a few portraits I took at Dale Farm one Sunday afternoon a few months ago. I pinned a white sheet to a tall fence and photographed willing participants who happened to walk by. The aim was to take the residents out of their everyday surroundings and focus squarely on them as individuals. If you are a photography fan, you might notice the influence of Avedon’s In the American West series.
Posted By Susan Craig-Greene
Posted Apr 20th, 2010