20 April–28 May 2011
The New Gypsies are British horse-drawn travellers. They are a group of people seeking an alternative to Western capitalist society by living in simplicity, at close contact with nature and moving from place to place on horse-drawn caravans. They are punks in the landscape, born out of the counterculture of the ’60s and ’70s, as well as the rave culture of the ’90s. The New Gypsies do not share a common ethnographical origin, a spirituality or a political stance. They share the ideal that a different way of living is possible.
Photographer Iain McKell spent the last ten years documenting and living with various travellers. McKell’s use of fashion aesthetics, a romanticised pallet of colours and his intentional rejection of many of the visual traits of traditional documentary photography offer an unsettlingly beautiful series of photographs of this invisible and ignored community.
This extraordinary body of work immerses us in this colourful and wonderful world, drawing our attention to the beauty and depth of The New Gypsies as individuals and as part of a community. Portraits, shot in impromptu open-air photo studios, made with the fabric that covers the caravans, are both alluring and intimate, without hiding the toughness of The New Gypsies’ life accurately registered on their faces. Iain McKell is a London-based photographer who is widely known for his work around youth subculture. He has worked extensively for music, fashion and style magazines, including i-D, The Face, L’Uomo Vogue and Italian Vogue. His photographic documentation of the punk and new-wave ‘Blitz Kids’ scene in London in the ’70s and ’80s has influenced an entire generation of fashion photographers.
Iain McKell: The New Gypsies was curated for Fashion Space Gallery by Bruno Ceschel.