The Irish Travelers are an insular ethnic group that has lived on the fringes of mainstream Irish society for centuries. They live an itnerant lifestyle, with long traditons and gender-based roles that have been passed down from generaton to generaton. Sons commonly take over jobs or enter trades their fathers and grandfathers have practiced for hundreds of years. Daughters are encouraged to marry early, and families with eight to twelve children are not uncommon. Discriminaton is widespread, school dropout rates are high, domestc violence is rampant, and suicides are increasing.
Yet the lives of the Travelers are changing in many positve ways. Recently recognized as an Indigenous Ethnic Group by the Irish government, Traveler families are finding it somewhat easier to live in government-serviced halting sites rather contnue their nomadic lifestyles. Bit by bit, for better or worse, the Travelers are being assimilated. Yet they are stll invisible to the Irish people.
Says Rebecca: I first encountered the Irish Travelers through a photographic trip in Killaloe, County Clare. Although they have an unsavory reputaton for violence and criminal behavior, I found them to be generally friendly, approachable, and tragically misunderstood. I think that it is important to document the Travelers as we know them today, to collect a photographic record of a unique people and their traditons before they disappear. There is great interest in the Travelers, in Ireland and abroad, and I would like to pursue photographing them in depth. I would like to share my portraits with others, allowing glimpses into a unique world in the hope of building connectons on an emotonal level. I would like to exhibit my portraits in Ireland and the United States both in galleries and in print, and hopefully develop and publish a book celebrating these beautful, historically maligned people.
Virginia native Rebecca Moseman received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1997 and her Master of Fine Arts from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2001. She has worked in academia, private industry, and Government as an instructor, consultant, and graphic designer and does freelance work in photography and publishing. Her work has been exhibited throughout the US and abroad and has been featured in Black+White Magazine, Black & White Magazine, Resource, DodHo, SHOTS Magazine, GUP Photographic Magazine and P3 Publico.
“My photography is a process of observation and a visceral response to my life, my experiences, and the world around me. It is at times a reflection of the emotional lives of my children or people I’ve encountered, sometimes a commentary on human behavior; other times it is a revelation of my own inner state. My photography represents a raw need to express visually what is often difficult to express in words.”