Wee Muckers – Youth of Belfast | Toby Binder
»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’« writes Paul McVeigh, Belfast born novelist and author of ‘The Good Son’.
Photographer Toby Binder has been documenting the daily life of teenagers in British working-class communities for more than a decade. After the Brexit referendum he focused his work on Belfast in Northern Ireland. There is a serious concern that Brexit will threaten the Peace Agreement of 1998 that ended the armed conflict between Protestant Unionists and Catholic Nationalists who live in homogeneous neighborhoods that are divided by walls till today. Old conflicts may recur, compromising the youth’s future prospects on both communities. Nevertheless, being underage, most teenagers were not allowed to vote in the referendum. Problems they struggle with are similar – no matter which side of the “Peace Walls” they live on. And whatever the effects of Brexit will be, it‘s very likely that they will strike especially young people from both communities.
Toby was born in Esslingen in 1977 and studied at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart. As a socially committed documentary photographer he focuses on underprivileged and marginalised communities in long-term projects. He often takes the perspective of young people. Toby’s work has been awarded internationally, e.g. with a Gomma Grant and LensCulture Award in 2020, the Zeke- and Felix-Schoeller-Award in 2019, the Philip-Jones-Griffiths-Award in 2018, the Sony-World-Photo-Awards and the Nannen-Preis in 2017. The same year he received an Honorable Mention at the UNICEF Photo of the Year just as again in 2021. His work is published by Stern, die Zeit, the Guardian, Le Monde, the Washington Post, Greenpeace Magazin, Amnesty Journal, Neue Zürcher Zeitung and others In 2019 his first photo book “Wee Muckers” was published by Kehrer.
Photo Essay curated by Alejandra Martínez Moreno.