Silver / 2018 / Portraiture / Culture

Irish Travellers

  • Prize
    Silver in Portraiture/Culture
  • Photographer
    Joseph-Philippe Bevillard

In 2010, I started photographing the Irish Travellers who are an ethnic group at a horse fair in Ireland. I returned to the fair the following year to meet them again and to give them some photos I had taken. They gained my trust and invited me to photograph their families and other clans. I am intrigued by their nomadic lifestyle so I decided to visit their caravans, halting sites and roadside encampments. In March 2017, Irish Travellers group have been formally recognized as an ethnic group. Today, they are still facing racism, discrimination and hardship by society. Travellers are very proud of their culture. I want to represent these people through my photographs. My goal is to continue to work with these families as well as other members that I encounter, and perhaps let the settled people have more understanding of their unique culture.

Born in Boston, Joseph-Philippe started drawing and painting after he lost his hearing at the age of 3. He took up photography during his senior year at a private school in Massachusetts. In 1985, he enrolled at the Rochester Institute of Technology to study photography where he remained there for 2 years before changing direction in career due to financial circumstances, In 1990 he return to photography to study at the Art Institute of Boston. It was in 1990, Joseph-Philippe developed a style for his square B&W portraiture of people he met in the nightclubs and on the street. After working for several major photo labs in Massachusetts in the last half of 1990, he moved to Ireland during the millennium to start his property management business. In 2007, he went back to photograph portraits using the same camera and style as he did in the early 90’s. In 2010, he started a new project, photographing the Irish Travellers and four years later, he formed the Irish Travellers Photo Workshops which takes place annually. A recipient of artist grants and making a living through sales of prints and private tutoring.