Intimate Vintage Portraits Documented the Lives of Irish Travellers Outside Dublin in the Late 1960s and Early 1970s
When Alen Macweeney returned to his native Ireland in the 1960s, after working as Richard Avedon’s assistant, he first intended to do a photo essay about W.B. Yeats. His research led him to cover another quintessentially Irish subject, one up to then neglected in photojournalism and Irish society in general.
“In search of a tinker woman as a subject,” notes Michael Miller at Hudson-Housatonic Arts, Macweeney found “a sprawling field of caravans, shed, and horses… on the outskirts of Dublin.” He also found himself “immersed in the life of the people then called tinkers, but now more respectfully known as travellers, for the next five years.”
From 1965 to 1971, Macweeney documented the lives of Irish Travellers, and in so doing, “without meaning to,” he eventually “became one of the foremost amateur anthropologists of Traveller culture,” a people invisible to most of his countrymen and women.