Little Tinker Child, Ireland

Accession Number

Little Tinker Child, Ireland

Alen MacWeeney

Object Creation Date
1965-1966, printed 1979

Medium & Support
gelatin silver print on paper

19 15/16 in x 16 in (50.6 cm x 40.6 cm);18 1/8 in x 22 1/8 in (46.04 cm x 56.2 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Carl W. Melcher

Subject matter
Standing in the center of this photograph is a young girl. Her dress is smudged and dirty, as are her fingers. Her gaze however is confident and clear. Hair slightly tussled, hand unconsciously pulling at the hem or dress, she calmly regards the camera’s lens, meeting the viewer’s eyes. She stands in a grassy field that rapidly falls out of focus behind her. To her right, a small white piece of trash sits in the grass. This child belongs to a small ethnic minority in Ireland known as Travellers, a nomadic community of people that move from site to site, assembling makeshift caravans and camps. This photograph was taken at their camp in an area outside of Dublin known as Cherry Orchard. The term “Tinker”, once used as in reference to the Travellers’ long-time means of self-employment by gathering and working with scrap metals, is now considered derogatory. Her disheveled appearance relates the poverty her family faces, however her assured expression imparts the defiant pride the Traveller community embodies.  

Physical Description
This photograph depicts a young girl standing in a grassy field wearing a stained and dirty dress.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

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camps (temporary settlements)
children (people by age group)
dresses (garments)
fields (land)
modern and contemporary art

13 Related Resources

Children and Childhood
(Part of 7 Learning Collections)
Documentary Photography & Social Realism
(Part of 9 Learning Collections)
(Part of 9 Learning Collections)
(Part of: Land and People)
Nature in Photography
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Photographic Portraiture 1949-1969
(Part of: Identity and Self-Understanding)
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
Social Justice
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Social Justice and Art 1946-1968
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

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