These images are part of a long-term project focusing on the Irish Travellers, a historically nomadic group. They number about 30,000 in all of Ireland and are ethnically separate from Romani/Gypsies.
Though always kept at the margins of society, Travellers are a remarkably resilient group who highly prize their culture and family life. They are endogamous. On average, they marry at 16-17 and have children soon after. Women spend their time caring for the family.
School is mandatory for the children, but they rarely progress beyond high school. As toddlers, the girls are taught to act and dress provocatively. However, they are not allowed to smoke, drink or have sex until marriage.
Early in life, Travellers must learn to face discrimination and racism. Often, when their Traveller status becomes known, they will not be hired or are fired. As a result, their unemployment rate is 84%. Many are under-educated or illiterate. Like the Settled Irish, they receive government assistance based on need. Men's activities revolve around their dogs and horses.
Since first seeing the images of Joseph-Philippe Bevillard, I have been drawn to the Travellers. Their manner of dress, cultural differences, and living circumstances are distinct. They are beautiful people whose story is mainly untold outside Ireland and the United Kingdom. With my photographs, I hope to share the world of the Travellers with others well outside their homeland.