Photographer Iain McKell offers an extraordinary—and breathtakingly beautiful—glimpse into the lives of a real and raw group of present-day nomads whose culture is built around ideals of freedom, nature, and simplicity.
Historically despised the new Gypsies are there by choice, not heritage. Unrelated to the Roma, the movement began in 1986when a group of Post-Punk Anti-Thatcher protesters headed out of London into the English countryside. McKell followed these New Age Travelers to the West Country and over the years he watched them become a hybrid tribe—the new gypsies—present-day rural anarchists, living the subversive lifestyle in elaborately decorated horse–drawn caravans. Known as “Horse-drawn,” the new gypsies share a desire for sustainability, a love of self-reliance and a disdain for the trappings of contemporary life. For more than a decade McKell has focused his lens on travelers of all ages: parents, children, couples, and loners. With sensitivity and honesty he captures a way of life that seems at once romantic, strange, beautiful, and simple. The result is a deeply insightful portrayal of a culture that eschews the traditional creature comforts of urban life in favour of the simplicity and freedom of the natural world.