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Joseph-Philippe Bevillard
Joseph-Philippe Bevillard
Joseph-Philippe Bevillard

Joseph-Philippe Bevillard

Country: United States/Ireland

Born in Boston, Joseph-Philippe started drawing and painting after he lost his hearing at the age of 3. He took up photography during his senior year at a private school in Massachusetts. In 1985, he enrolled at the Rochester Institute of Technology to study photography where he remained there for 2 yrs before changing direction in career due to financial circumstances, In 1990 he return to photography to study at the Art Institute of Boston. It was in 1990, Joseph-Philippe developed a style for his square B&W portraitures of people he met in the nightclubs and on the street. After working for several major photo labs in Massachusetts in the last half of 1990, he moved to Ireland during the millenium to start his property management business. In 2007, he went back to photograph portraits using the same camera and style as he did in the early 90's. In 2010, he started a new project, photographing the Irish Travellers and four years later, he formed the Irish Travellers Photo Workshop. In June 2018, Joseph-Philippe started a colour project on Irish Travellers using a digital camera and continue shooting B&W film with Hasselblad.

His work has been published by Amnesty International, Der Spiegel, EyeShot, Dodho, FotoNostrum, British Journal of Photography, Junge Welt, Lenswork, Life Force, Photo-Letter, Square, Shots and Vogue Italia as well as received awards from International Photography Awards, PX3 Paris, Photo Vogue Italia, FotoNostrum and Lensculture. His recent exhibitions included Les Recontres d'Arles, Espace Beaurepaire Paris, Leica Gallery Milan, Somerset House London, New Hampshire Institute of The Arts, Royal Hibernian Academy Dublin and Central Intelligence Agency in Washington, DC.

His first monograph 'Minceirs' will be available in early May 2021 and can be pre-ordered through this link: www.skeletonkeypress.com or thru the artist.

For workshop info, exhibition, publication and prints enquiry, please contact the artist through his email at: joseph-philippebevillard@hotmail.com

MINCÉIRS:
Mincéirs are a traditionally nomadic ethnic minority indigenous to Ireland, referred to by the Irish Government and the settled population as Irish Travellers. The Mincéir is a true name of the Irish travelling community in their own language which is called Cant or Gammon. Although the Irish Travellers speak English, the lingo they use amongst each other at times is Cant/Gammon. The name Traveller was put upon them because of their nomadic identity. Back in the 5th century the term these groups of people were called Whitesmiths because of their association and skills as tin-smithing. Over the years the Irish Travellers have been called Tinkers, Knackers, Itinerants, Gyspy and Pavee by some of the settled population which the Irish Travellers have found very offensive and racial. Any settled person who is not racist would use the term Irish Traveller or Travellers which is politically correct. Unfortunately many of the Irish Travellers are subjected to the continuous use of these offensive labels.

I would like to mention a few facts and some background information on this minority group of people who live mostly in Ireland I will refer to them as Irish Travellers or Travellers for short. Approximately 35,000 Travellers live in Ireland, less than 1% of the Irish population.

Most of the Irish Travellers live in halting sites which have been designated by the Irish government in 1968. The government were not happy with the Irish Travellers roadside camping, so they set up the so called temporary sites. Some families chose to stay and never moved, there are many of these halting sites which I have been privy to visit, but some are overcrowded due to large families and lack proper updated facilities. This in turn has forced some families to set up their own camps in disused fields, but because seen as illegal encampments the local councils are constantly trying to move the families on, and will not provide basic needs such as fresh water, electricity or sanitation. There is a small amount of Irish Travellers who wish to settle and have gone on the housing list. This can also be a tricky situation settled neighbours usually oppose having a travelling family living on their road, these leads to tension and racial abuse at times. So this discourages many families from settling.

While education is mandatory for all children living in Ireland, the Irish Travellers usually drop out by the age of 15, a lot of this is due to the children being needed at home to tend to the younger or some just find mainstream school boring and not suited to their culture. I have heard from a home economics teacher that her class is probably the most popular subject amongst the female Travellers as cooking is necessary. There have also been some fantastic stories of Irish Travellers finishing 3rd level education and obtaining great careers such as Dr. Sindy Joyce. Dr. Joyce is the first Irish Traveller to graduate with a PhD and was recently appointed by our President as one of his advisors for council of the state in 2019.

Vice-Chair of the National Traveller Mental Health Mags Casey explained that the causes of mental health issues affecting Travellers are Complex:

"Clearly the issues that affect all Travellers-such as racism and exclusion matters relating to identity, sexuality, addiction, as well as unemployment, education and accommodation have a profound impact on the community's mental health".

The following information is an excerpt from the National Traveller Mental Health Network officially launched in NUI Galway in 2019:

82 % of the Irish Traveller community have been affected by suicide.
90% Of Travellers agree that mental health issues are common amongst their community
56% of Travellers report poor physical and mental health restricts their normal daily activities.

In March 2017, after 25 years of campaigning, finally Irish Travellers won formal recognition as a distinct ethnic group within the State. On that day the former director of the Irish Travellers Movement, Bridgid Quilligan stated:

"We want every Traveller in Ireland to be proud of who they are and to say that "we are not a failed set of people. We have our own unique identity, and we shouldn't take on all the negative aspects of what people think about us. We should be able to be proud and for that to happen our State needed to acknowledge our identity and our ethnicity, and they're doing that today."

What I have written is brief with some facts about these fascinating people who have made me feel utterly welcome at all times for the past 11 years. I am clearly not a writer, so I have recorded some facts and a brief synopsis into the life of Irish Travellers. I hope my photographs portray what I could not begin to write, and captured some of the Irish Travellers Lifestyle and Culture that is steeped in traditions, full of colour, celebrations, and hardships.

Joseph-Philippe Bévillard, September 2020
 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

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William Eggleston
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William Eggleston was born in Memphis, Tennessee and raised in Sumner, Mississippi. His father was an engineer and his mother was the daughter of a prominent local judge. As a boy, Eggleston was introverted; he enjoyed playing the piano, drawing, and working with electronics. From an early age, he was also drawn to visual media, and reportedly enjoyed buying postcards and cutting out pictures from magazines. At the age of 15, Eggleston was sent to the Webb School, a boarding establishment. Eggleston later recalled few fond memories of the school, telling a reporter, "It had a kind of Spartan routine to 'build character'. I never knew what that was supposed to mean. It was so callous and dumb. It was the kind of place where it was considered effeminate to like music and painting." Eggleston was unusual among his peers in eschewing the traditional Southern male pursuits of hunting and sports, in favor of artistic pursuits and observation of the world. 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Martine Franck
Belgium
1938 | † 2012
Franck was born in Antwerp to the Belgian banker Louis Franck and his British wife, Evelyn. After her birth the family moved almost immediately to London. A year later, her father joined the British army, and the rest of the family were evacuated to the United States, spending the remainder of the Second World War on Long Island and in Arizona. Franck's father was an amateur art collector who often took his daughter to galleries and museums. Franck was in boarding school from the age of six onwards, and her mother sent her a postcard every day, frequently of paintings. Ms. Franck, attended Heathfield School, an all-girls boarding school close to Ascot in England, and studied the history of art from the age of 14. "I had a wonderful teacher who really galvanized me," she says. "In those days she took us on outings to London, which was the big excitement of the year for me." Franck studied art history at the University of Madrid and at the Ecole du Louvre in Paris. After struggling through her thesis (on French sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and the influence of cubism on sculpture), she said she realized she had no particular talent for writing, and turned to photography instead. In 1963, Franck's photography career started following trips to the Far East, having taken pictures with her cousin’s Leica camera. Returning to France in 1964, now possessing a camera of her own, Franck became an assistant to photographers Eliot Elisofon and Gjon Mili at Time-Life. By 1969 she was a busy freelance photographer for magazines such as Vogue, Life and Sports Illustrated, and the official photographer of the Théâtre du Soleil (a position she held for 48 years). From 1970 to 1971 she worked in Paris at the Agence Vu photo agency, and in 1972 she co-founded the Viva agency. In 1980, Franck joined the Magnum Photos cooperative agency as a "nominee", and in 1983 she became a full member. She was one of a very small number of women to be accepted into the agency. In 1983, she completed a project for the now-defunct French Ministry of Women's Rights and in 1985 she began collaborating with the non-profit International Federation of Little Brothers of the Poor. In 1993, she first traveled to the Irish island of Tory where she documented the tiny Gaelic community living there. She also traveled to Tibet and Nepal, and with the help of Marilyn Silverstone photographed the education system of the Tibetan Tulkus monks. In 2003 and 2004 she returned to Paris to document the work of theater director Robert Wilson who was staging La Fontaine's fables at the Comédie Française. Nine books of Franck's photographs have been published, and in 2005 Franck was made a chevalier of the French Légion d'Honneur. Franck continued working even after she was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2010. Her last exhibition was in October 2011 at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie. The exhibit consisted of 62 portraits of artists "coming from somewhere else" collected from 1965 through 2010. This same year, there were collections of portraits shown at New York's Howard Greenberg Gallery and at the Claude Bernard Gallery, Paris. Franck was well known for her documentary-style photographs of important cultural figures such as the painter Marc Chagall, philosopher Michel Foucault and poet Seamus Heaney, and of remote or marginalized communities such as Tibetan Buddhist monks, elderly French people, and isolated Gaelic speakers. Michael Pritchard, the Director-General of the Royal Photographic Society, observed: "Martine was able to work with her subjects and bring out their emotions and record their expressions on film, helping the viewer understand what she had seen in person. Her images were always empathetic with her subject." In 1976, Frank took one of her most iconic photos of bathers beside a pool in Le Brusc, Provence. By her account, she saw them from a distance and rushed to photograph the moment, all the while changing the roll of film in her camera. She quickly closed the lens just at the right moment, when happened to be most intense. She cited as influences the portraits of British photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, the work of American photojournalist Dorothea Lange and American documentary photographer Margaret Bourke-White. In 2010, she told The New York Times that photography "suits my curiosity about people and human situations." She worked outside the studio, using a 35 mm Leica camera, and preferring black and white film. The British Royal Photographic Society has described her work as "firmly rooted in the tradition of French humanist documentary photography." Source: Wikipedia Born in Belgium, Martine Franck (1938-2012) grew up in the United States and in England. She studied art history at the University of Madrid and at the École du Louvre in Paris. In 1963, she went to China, taking her cousin's Leica camera with her, and discovered the joys of documenting other cultures. Returning home via Hong Kong, Cambodia, India, Afghanistan and Turkey, and bought her first camera while on the trip. Returning to France, she worked as a photographic assistant at Time-Life where she developed her own technique. In 1966, Franck met Henri Cartier-Bresson, whose photographs epitomized Magnum's tradition of humanitarian photography. Franck was adamant that she would neither bask in his reflection nor disappear in his shadow and she joined the Vu agency in 1970. Her first solo exhibition was planned for the ICA in London that year; when she saw that the invitations were embossed with the information that her husband would be present at the launch, she cancelled the show. With Vu's demise, Franck co-founded the Viva agency in 1972. It also collapsed and it was not until 1980 that Franck joined Magnum, becoming a full member in 1983. She was one of the few women to be accepted into the agency and served as vice-president from 1998 to 2000. Eschewing the war/human tragedy reportage that characterized Magnum's reputation, Franck continued her projects on marginal or isolated lives throughout the rest of her life. Source: Howard Greenberg Gallery
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