Disarming Photos Reveal The Lives Of The Traveller Community Living Under The Westway

Disarming Photos Reveal The Lives Of The Traveller Community Living Under The Westway

Walking beneath the Westway, you will find a wild assortment of people and places.

There's the bustling Portobello Road Market. There's the serenity of the Grand Union Canal. There's the sporting competitiveness on the five-a-side pitches at Westway Sports & Fitness Centre. And then there's London's forgotten, disappearing community: Travellers.

Photographer Paul Wenham-Clarke set out to document the length of the Westway with his camera. However, over time, he found that the Travellers living around Stable Way, were what he most wanted to capture. It took eight months for him to win the community's trust, for them to let him photograph them.

The Travellers only let him take pictures on their terms. He mainly covered family events or celebrations, always asking permission as he went. As is clear from all the eyes staring into the lens, this isn't candid photography, everything here is posed with a sleek feel. This allowed for some collaboration from the community and means they are portrayed on their own terms.

Most of the men didn't want their photos taken — losing jobs due to being outed as a Traveller is a regular occurrence for them. Therefore, the children come to the forefront of these pictures.

There are estimated to be 17,000 Travellers living in London today but that number is dwindling thanks to a housing crisis. Property developers are desperate to get their hands on the land they dwell on.

These images have been collated into a new book called Urban Gypsies by Hoxton Mini Press. Take a look at some shots in the collection below.

Urban Gypsies is published by Hoxton Mini Press on 6 June 2019.

Last Updated 31 May 2019