A rare glimpse inside the lives of children in the Irish Traveller community
Jamie Johnson, a Los Angeles’ based photographer with an eye for telling stories through her camera lens, set about a project to explore the life of children living as Irish travellers.
The Irish travelling community, predominantly an itinerant ethnic group who maintain strict traditions, are often the subject of vile, explicit political and cultural discrimination. For the children of this community, they’re born into the feeling of being victimised, chastised and bullied.
Johnson, who was able to build a strong relationship with a set of families within the community, documented everyday life and, more importantly, experienced the abuse the people suffered regularly. “I cannot even write the horrible names I heard screamed down the streets as the girls walk by,” she said in an interview with Feature Shoot. “Nine, ten and eleven-year-old children are being called trash as they walk on the street to get some candy from a local store,” she added.
She continued: “These children are not thieves,” Johnson stressed. “They are just kids, and they just wanted to be treated like everyone else.”
“They run free in play like I did in the 70’s,” she admits. “They live like children of the past with adventures and make-believe. They play in forts and play house and cowboys.”
Here, in a select few images taken from Johnson’s collection, is a glimpse inside the life of children who live among the Irish traveller community.