More Travellers’ Children in London Fields
As I await delivery of copies of Colin O’Brien’s Travellers Children in London Fields that I am publishing next week, I am looking back upon those pictures which did not find their way into the book. Rather than let these stray images from this extraordinary series be forgotten, I am publishing some here as a taster of what you can expect from the book.
“I came across the travellers whilst I was photographing a deserted warehouse in London Fields. They had parked their caravans in and around Martello St near the railway arches by the station. This part of Hackney was very run down in the eighties. The streets were littered with rubbish and many of the decaying Victorian terraces were being demolished. The area was neglected and dangerous, with graffiti everywhere.
The travellers were Irish, mostly families with three or four children, living in modern caravans which looked extremely cramped but comfortable. On the first week, I started to take one or two Polaroid shots of the children which I gave to them to show their parents. Some of the parents then dressed the children up and sent them out for me to take more portraits.
I continued to take pictures over a period of three weeks and got to know some of the travellers well. They took me into their confidence and trusted me with their children.
When I returned to the site on the fourth week the families had gone. I was surprised, though I should not have been because this is what travellers do – they move on. I had no way of contacting them, yet I was left with this set of pictures, and it was only when I started to print the negatives that I realised what an amazing set of photographs they were.”
- Colin O’Brien
Hardback copies will be on sale at £10 from 3rd July at the Bishopsgate Institute, Brick Lane Bookshop, Broadway Bookshop, Labour & Wait, Leila’s Shop, Newham Bookshop, Pages of Hackney, Rough Trade and Townhouse, Fournier St. Faber Factory Plus part of Faber & Faber are distributing Travellers’ Children in London Fields nationwide, so if you are a retailer and would like to sell copies in your shop please contact firstname.lastname@example.org who deals with trade orders.
Photographs copyright © Colin O’Brien
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