Salt Print for Brighton Photo Fringe

Irish Travellers Brighton Photo Fringe Exhibition 2016

The Brighton Photo Fringe as part of the Brighton Photo Biennial is nearly upon us.

I’ll be exhibiting much of my work from the last two years travelling to Ireland. There will be sound, stories, text, large graphics and a set of twenty beautiful salt prints. To register you interest please indicate on FaceBook 🙂

See the exhibition write up by Phil Coombes Head of Photography at the BBC, BBC New in Pictures and follow the BBC’s Instagram account for a traveller Instagram story over the week.

I’ve been visiting the travellers around Limerick. A group of people isolated from society, not only physically but also culturally. There is a great sense of feeling forgotten. The elders remember freedom as children of travelling workers. Their grandchildren live behind tall concrete walls, screened from the world, on ill-designed sites. Some have created their own sites, their own worlds and communities.

Their culture revolves around horses, both on the council estates and on the traveller sites. The lack of provision for their horses on council provided sites is an ongoing issue, as is the burgeoning population on some sites.

Horses are central to many peoples lives in Ireland. They live in close proximity to their owners. Many settled (housed) people keep their horses tethered in the street in the day time and are taken through the house to the yard in the evening.

irish traveller exhibition

On the sites they are usually surprised that anyone takes an interest. “Nobody ever comes round here” they often say. Then they start telling stories of their lives, their aspirations and their memories.

Many travellers deal in horses, and the biggest traveller horse fair in Ireland is Ballinasloe, a whole room will be devoted to horse fairs for the exhibition.

Salt Print for Brighton Photo Fringe

One of the Salt Prints for the Brighton Photo Fringe

This year I returned to record the voices and sounds of the travellers. When they talk about themselves they describe their lives in ways that will challenge some common perceptions.

20 of the images in the exhibition are salt prints, expertly created from the original files by traditional wet-process printers Paul Daskarolis and Stuart Kuhn.

brighton photo fringe exhibition traveller salt prints

Brighton photo fringe exhibition traveller salt prints

Each salt print is a one off, a rarity since the digitisation. A Salt print has a distinct quality. They are unique, rough, tactile and real. It’s a traditional technique that’s survived despite technology. The antidote to mass production and speed.

Colour images and text are woven together to tell stories. These will be in abundance. Many pictures will be displayed together to describe families, relationships and culture. You will discover them from the sounds of their voices in their own words, and read about tradition and identity.

An immersive installation of sound, large graphics and salt prints.


Venue: MADE Brighton North Street Brighton

Dates: 1st October until 4th November – Preview: 7th October 2016

3 replies
  1. Irish Neil
    Irish Neil says:

    your pictures capture a neglected man, a forgotten woman, a shunned child, a persistent abrasive disregard for this cultural belief, dismissed for their strong willed perpetuity. Not being the same as the sheep, not embracing the political dogma, with grace and beauty in eyes that have been stunned by neglect……beautiful work you have here.


    Thank you Irish Neil, It’s a difficult subject. I really admire their strength. It is a tough life and yet the people I met remain strong. I do get comments from people who can’t see that not everyone is the same in any culture. I try not to portray the travellers all sad and wistful. I like to show the other bits I see. The humour, cheek, fun, strength, the support they offer one another in family communities. We complain that our children do not have the freedom we had to play on the streets and learn to be independent, to explore the world. These children still have that. Maybe not in the same way their parents and grandparents had it in the fields, farms and rivers, but they all look out for each other in a way I’ve never seen in any other culture. You can see it is genuine, and it’s lovely to see.

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