“If I had been born at the top of my street, behind the corrugated-iron border, I would have been British. Incredible to think. My whole idea of myself, the attachments made to a culture, heritage, religion, nationalism and politics are all an accident of birth. I was one street away from being born my ‘enemy’”. Paul McVeigh
“Wee Muckers – Youth of Belfast” is a long term photography work by Toby Binder. The images will be published in a high quality hard cover photo book in collaboration with the renowned German Publisher Kehrer Verlag.
I have been documenting the daily lives of teenagers in British working-class communities for more than a decade. After the UK’s Brexit referendum, I focused my attention on Belfast.
Northern Ireland will have to leave the European Union due to UK’s Brexit referendum eventhough the majority of its citizens voted to remain. While most local Protestant Unionists support Brexit, the Catholic Irish Nationalists mainly wanted to stay in the EU. A fundamental condition of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that ended the so-called “Troubles” is an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. This frontier once again becomes an external border of the European Union after Brexit, threatening the country’s peace process. Old conflicts may recur, compromising the youth’s future prospects. Nevertheless, being underage, most teenagers were not allowed to vote in the referendum.
My photo essay depicts the ubiquity of unemployment, drug crime, and violence afflicting Belfast’s youth, whether they live on one side of the “Peace Wall” or the other. Whatever comes of Brexit, the ramifications will be felt by communities on both sides. The book accompanies teenagers in six different Protestant and Catholic neighbourhoods, providing an intimate and immediate insight into the daily lives of a whole generation.
Now I need your support to complete the project and bring this book to life!
The book will be 17,5 cm x 24cm hard cover, 120 pages long, and include 85 photographs beautifully reproduced in duotone on high-end paper, designed by Art-Director Birthe Steinbeck.
All photographs were taken with an analog medium format camera. The book is structured in six chapters that are congruent with the six Belfast neighbourhoods Shankill, Highfield, Clonard, Carrick Hill, Village & Sandy Row where the photos have been taken.
Belfast-born writer Paul McVeigh, author of the awarded novel “The Good Son” writes the introduction to the book.
Here are just a few of the images in the book. Some of them are included as reference to rewards offered to the right.
I studied at the State Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart. Soon I focused my photography on social and political topics. Based in Argentina and Germany I work on assignments and personal projects where I find my topics in post-war and crisis situations as well as in the daily life of people.
My work has been published by Stern, Die Zeit, Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, Greenpeace Magazin, Amnesty Journal and others.
Kehrer Verlag is among the world’s leading publishers of photo books. Founded in 1995 by Klaus Kehrer, it is one of the few independent publishing houses in Germany. Kehrer Verlag has published acclaimed photographers such as Martin Parr, Saul Leiter, Bruce Gilden, Alain Laboile, and many others.
“The gritty and powerful photographs that Toby Binder presents here in ‘Wee Muckers – Youth of Belfast’ is a visual gauntlet thrown down to all those who think and say that ‘it will be ok.’ And that there are ‘no worries.’ These photographs of the young people speak eloquently to the long standing historical divisions between the English and the Irish, the North and South, the Protestants and the Catholic.
These strong, stark and eloquent images should awaken all those asleep in the status quo, and open a serious discussion about moving forward to some more intelligent resolutions.”
“Toby and his compelling images have the unique ability to put viewer in the moment and their lives. This powerful and moving experience comes across in both looking directly into the subjects eyes in portraits as well as documentary shots as they go about everyday happenings as a Youth of Belfast.”
Risks and challenges
There are no risks to this project. This book is already in the works: German book publisher Kehrer Verlag is publishing "Wee Muckers" if this campaign is successful and I will make sure the book is shipped by the end of March 2019.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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