Private universe of ‘Gypsy Travellers’

Also famous as Gypsies, these communities are a theme of mindfulness to wider society, forever misrepresented, exoticised or mocked

Now, publisher Rachel Segal Hamilton and photographer Paul Wenham-Clarke have left behind a sealed doors of a complicated day “Urban Gypsies” to know a tighten community.

*****

The Westway curls from Paddington to North Kensington, a gigantic grey serpent, choking West London in a grip.

Like so many constructions of a 1960s and 70s, it can demeanour irredeemably nauseous to contemporary eyes though a source was utopian.

This 5km of continual petrify was built between 1964 and 1970 to assuage congestion, an elevated, eight-lane twin carriageway heading commuters in and out of a capital, from a bureau in city to suburban tranquillity on a outskirts.

A singular demeanour inside a tighten village of travellers vital underneath a A40 flyover in London. Picture: Paul Wenham-Clarke/Urban Gypsies/Hoxton Mini Press

A singular demeanour inside a tighten village of travellers vital underneath a A40 flyover in London. Picture: Paul Wenham-Clarke/Urban Gypsies/Hoxton Mini PressSource:Supplied

As with all developments, a plan had a losers: some residents’ homes were privileged to make proceed for a new road. But one organisation remained.

Stable Way, nearby Latimer Road in a precinct of Kensington and Chelsea, has been a ‘stopping place’ for Travellers given a 19th century.

Officially designated as a Traveller’s site in 1976, it’s now home to some 20 Irish Traveller families.

Some 20 Irish Traveller families live in a borough. Picture: Paul Wenham-Clarke/Urban Gypsies/Hoxton Mini Press

Some 20 Irish Traveller families live in a borough. Picture: Paul Wenham-Clarke/Urban Gypsies/Hoxton Mini PressSource:Supplied

Early in a morning, as he gathering along a A4 into London to work as an promotion photographer, Paul Wenham-Clarke would locate a glance of their immobile caravans and trailers, along with mechanics’ workshops, football pitches, stables, a propagandize — a whole universe abounding in this unlucky setting.

In 2011 he set out to request a whole length of a Westway, though remained many intrigued by Stable Way.

Paul is Professor of Photography during Arts University Bournemouth and his university gave him time and appropriation to commence this project.

Wary of aggravation, he adopted a devious approach, primarily photographing everybody solely a Travellers.

Photographer Paul Wenham-Clarke documented a tighten community. Picture: Paul Wenham-Clarke/Urban Gypsies/Hoxton Mini Press

Photographer Paul Wenham-Clarke documented a tighten community. Picture: Paul Wenham-Clarke/Urban Gypsies/Hoxton Mini PressSource:Supplied

Each time, he’d accidentally discuss his seductiveness in photographing a Travellers. Eventually it paid off. Eight months into a two-year project, he perceived a call from Pat, a well-respected long-term proprietor of a Westway Traveller site. They concluded Mr Wenham-Clarke could sketch a Travellers, though usually on their terms, covering family events or celebrations, always seeking accede as he went.

As a result, many of a shots uncover a Travellers during grave occasions, christenings, anniversaries or birthday parties. This isn’t documentary photography in a vehement tradition — it’s transparent in a hands on sparkly hips or heads slanted towards a camera that they’re unwavering of a camera and Wenham-Clarke’s use of lighting give a shots a sleeker feel.

The photographer was authorised to request weddings, birthdays and other celebrations. Picture: Paul Wenham-Clarke/Urban Gypsies/Hoxton Mini Press

The photographer was authorised to request weddings, birthdays and other celebrations. Picture: Paul Wenham-Clarke/Urban Gypsies/Hoxton Mini PressSource:Supplied

But this creates it no reduction authentic, maybe some-more in a way. After all, we now know that thought of a photographer as an only spectator who hits a shiver and captures ‘what’s there’ to be a myth.

A sketch is a finish outcome of many choices, from framing to editing. Through this tighten partnership a Travellers are determining how they wish to be represented.

Travellers, also famous as Gypsies, are a theme of mindfulness to wider society, forever misrepresented, exoticised or mocked, from Bizet’s sexy, dangerous Carmen to Brad Pitt’s comic spin as an unintelligible bare-knuckle fighter in Snatch.

Over time, a Traveller village has been extravagantly misrepresented. Picture: Paul Wenham-Clarke/Urban Gypsies/Hoxton Mini Press

Over time, a Traveller village has been extravagantly misrepresented. Picture: Paul Wenham-Clarke/Urban Gypsies/Hoxton Mini PressSource:Supplied

Many feel their village has been mocked by a outward world. Picture: Paul Wenham-Clarke/Urban Gypsies/Hoxton Mini Press

Many feel their village has been mocked by a outward world. Picture: Paul Wenham-Clarke/Urban Gypsies/Hoxton Mini PressSource:Supplied

The best-known new depiction is a TV array My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, that invited us to gawp and snarl in ‘a account that’s partial Stars in Their Eyes, partial inlet show’, as a author and former Travellers’ Times editor Damian Le Bas puts it.

Over a past decades, British Travellers have seen their right to culturally suitable housing eroded.

The common mistake among outsiders is to consider that Travellers are usually Travellers if they’re on a go. Picture: Paul Wenham-Clarke/Urban Gypsies/Hoxton Mini Press

The common mistake among outsiders is to consider that Travellers are usually Travellers if they’re on a go. Picture: Paul Wenham-Clarke/Urban Gypsies/Hoxton Mini PressSource:Supplied

The 1994 Criminal Justice Act took divided special protections for Travellers’ sites and a 2016 Housing and Planning Act did divided with protections for those with a ‘cultural tradition of nomadism or of vital in a caravan’.

Today, a 17,000 Travellers estimated to be vital in London are confronting a housing crisis. As skill developers circle, a Travellers of a Westway fear their time here is limited. And relocating on many expected means relocating divided from any other.

What Wenham-Clarke’s cinema uncover is that Traveller life is essentially about community. Picture: Paul Wenham-Clarke/Urban Gypsies/Hoxton Mini Press

What Wenham-Clarke’s cinema uncover is that Traveller life is essentially about community. Picture: Paul Wenham-Clarke/Urban Gypsies/Hoxton Mini PressSource:Supplied

There’s piquancy in shots in that a outrageous highway looms above, or a immature child sits in a damaged fondle car. No longer means to live a winding life, a Travellers find preserve in a shade of society’s some-more authorised form of travel. But this interpretation doesn’t tell a whole story. It’s a common mistake among outsiders to consider that Travellers are usually Travellers if they’re on a go. London is their home.

No longer means to live a winding life, a Travellers find preserve in a shade of society. Picture: Paul Wenham-Clarke/Urban Gypsies/Hoxton Mini Press

No longer means to live a winding life, a Travellers find preserve in a shade of society. Picture: Paul Wenham-Clarke/Urban Gypsies/Hoxton Mini PressSource:Supplied

What Wenham-Clarke’s cinema uncover is that Traveller life is essentially about community. On site, inside and outward blur, train doors pitch open, kids play and leap, not a shade in sight. Freedom isn’t only a leisure to shun — it’s also a leisure to be together.

The book “Urban Gypsies” by Paul Wenham-Clarke, published by Hoxton Mini Press, is out now.