These images are part of a long-term project focusing on the Irish Travellers, a historically nomadic group. There are about 30,000 in all of Ireland and they 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 and on average, marry at 16-17. They have children soon after and 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 and as a result, their unemployment rate is 84%. Like the Settled Irish, they receive government assistance based on need.
“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.”