The magazine of the photo-essay
Aug 2016 back issue
Irish Tinkers: A Portrait of Irish Travellers in the 1970s
A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine.  Fabulous! Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film & documentary maker
by Janine Wiedel
In the early 1970s, I spent five years going back and forth to Ireland with my camera, living and travelling in a worn out mini van complete with makeshift curtains which I strung up across the windows at night.  I was obsessed with finding out more about the Travellers and their way of life.  For them, this was a very difficult time of transition. They were victims of racism and prejudice and were struggling to maintain their traditional nomadic lifestyle. Meanwhile, the Irish government and authorities were doing their best to obstruct their movement and to assimilate them into the settled community. They were caught between nostalgia for a vanishing past and a fatalistic acceptance of an uncertain future. In 1976 the photographs were first exhibited in the Photographers Gallery in London and the book “Irish Tinkers” came out in 1976. The hard copy is out of print but an updated version Irish Tinkers: A Portrait of Irish Travellers in the 1970s  is now available as an iBook and a PDF.  The book combines the photographs with compelling words of the Travellers themselves and transcribed by Martina O’Fearadhaigh.  It aims to record a vanishing world but also
to capture the independence, pride, self-respect and sheer endurance that has ensured the Travellers’ survival across the centuries.
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