Gypsy Gold // / by sophie green

Check out the new series on my website titled 'Gypsy Gold'.

My fascination with the quirks and eccentricities of travellers was born after watching the Channel 4’s series, ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’. I became captivated by the heritage and traditions behind their lives and I felt compelled to go and discover their unique culture for myself.

The shoots took me to regional horse fairs from Appleby in Cumbria, across to Ballianasloe in Ireland, all the way south to Wickham horse fair in Portsmouth. At the fairs, horses are traded, girls search for husbands and friends and family from far and wide reunite.

I love the vibrancy and colours of the fairs and find them totally mesmerising - incredible faces, theatrical outfits, traditional carts, horses, cockerel fights, singing birds and fortune-tellers. Whilst shooting I often felt like I had gone back in time. The process was very organic and the series is a spontaneous, intuitive reaction to what I observed. I became obsessed with small details – the fashion, makeup, eyebrows, hairstyles, market fakes, leather, bits and whips. It’s a series of fun incidentals which create a visual story.

Gypsies have been covered so much in photography, I was aware it could easily look and feel like a cliché – this concern heavily influenced how I photographed, often I saw a good shot but it felt too obvious. I didn’t want this project to become a deep, meaningful, intellectual narrative but to simply record what caught my eye and made me smile. For all the criticism that travellers attract I found plenty of gold.