A very-celebrated series, Appleby by Mattia Zoppellaro turns into a book. Published by Contrasto at the end of October, Appleby becomes a paper map to a timeless universe. You can now leaf through the extraordinary universe of the Irish Travelers, their stories, and their magnetic gazes that Zoppellaro masterfully captures.

We were all struck by the fierce uniqueness and extraordinary looks of the Irish travelers – as captured by Italian photographer Mattia Zoppellaro. In Cumbria, every June, between ten and fifteen thousand travelers and gypsies from all over the British Isles gather for Appleby, their yearly horse-trading fair. Between 2012 and 2016 Zoppellaro attended the fair and, with his typical anthropological approach, photographed this proud people. Through the book published by Contrasto, we discover that besides photographing them, Zoppellaro collected their tales, and carefully listened to their stories.

A nomadic ethnic group also called “Pavees”, the Irish travelers have mysterious origins. Some say their ancestors were Irish landowners who lost their lands after Cromwell conquered Ireland. Some others claim they descend from the blacksmith who forged Jesus’ cross and they are for this condemned to a never-ending pilgrimage. Whatever their origins, their traditions are still very vivid, and they visually clash with elements of modernity. Unbridled horses stand by beat-up lorries and inside their wooden trailers, the travelers sip Red-Bulls. Zoppellaro’s deep pictures iconize the Pavees’ pale faces and their dark gazes that come from another time.

Tim, 2014 © Mattia Zoppellaro/Contrasto
Sunday afternoon, 2012 © Mattia Zoppellaro/Contrasto
Stephen Lee playing hide and seek, 2014 © Mattia Zoppellaro/Contrasto
© Mattia Zoppellaro/Contrasto

Images © Mattia Zoppellaro/Contrasto