Perry Ogden & Tara St Hill Capture Childhood In Rural Ireland In New Book, ‘Paddy & Liam’
Perry Ogden has long been drawn to Ireland and the lives of travellers. Despite being born in Shropshire, its people, culture and landscapes formed the basis of ‘Pony Kids’, his 1999 project and publication exploring Dublin’s suburban horse culture among traveller communities. For this latest project, in collaboration with 10’s very own Senior Fashion Editor-at-Large Tara St Hill, Ogden has once more returned to Ireland and its rural communities of travellers to tell a tale of childhood, identity and family through Paddy and Liam, the two brothers who make up the book’s title.
“Paddy and Liam Doran are two young Irish Traveller boys who live with their family in a council house just outside Dublin.” said Perry. “I have always been very interested in Traveller culture and started photographing them a number of years ago. Later, I thought these images would make a very interesting book documenting that period of time from the age of 10 – 16, which is such a transformative period in your life, a time when you are making discoveries and developing passions. I also wanted to reflect on the Ireland they were born into and the Ireland in which they are becoming adults.” We caught up with Tara to find out more about how this incredible project came together.
Finn Blythe: How did you first become involved with Perry?
Tara St Hill: I first had contact with Perry when he liked one of the pictures I did for Love magazine of Edie Campbell on Instagram. I wrote back as his ‘Pony Kids’ book was one of my favourite ever books. I then met Gary Gill who sent me an email after our meeting with one of Perry’s pictures. So when Dust Magazine approached me and asked to shoot the boys with Perry, I was super excited, as when I was younger I was involved in the New Age Traveller community and my heart remains there. It made sense to ask Gary to be part of it too and he accepted straight away. It was an incredible experience and the boys and their father were a beautiful family. I met them all; Grandfather, Mam, brothers, sister and all the dogs. I wanted to honour their spirit, that was the most important thing.”
FB: How did the shoot differ from your editorial work?
TS: The shoot was hugely unplanned. I turned up in Eire and Perry suggested a few places we could go, but when he mentioned Ballinasloe, a traveller horse fair I was like, “Yes, yes, yes!!!” To me that was a gift. I was so excited and it lived up to my expectations and beyond. We field cast the rest of the boys whilst we were there and everyone was happy to be involved. Perry and I kept in touch afterwards and I talked about documenting the boys growing up and photographing them every year till they were men. So this summer we went back . We travelled 700 miles in 3 vans and went all over Eire. My Mum is Irish and actually their growing up wasn’t that different to the places I would go with my family when I was little- Connemara, Knock… But the way travellers are looked upon by the Irish is very different and I felt that a lot, so I wanted to honour them, their culture and traditions. I was honoured to be let in to the families’ lives, it was special and I loved getting to know them and watch them growing up into fine young men.