Terry O’Neill Award Feature: Kenneth O Halloran

Documentary photographer Kenneth O Halloran won first prize for last year’s  Terry O’Neill Award with his series Fair Trade; a vibrantly witty yet tender portrait of Irish traveller life.


O Halloran writes:
Fairs are more than places of trade in Ireland. Women regard them as occasions worth dressing up for, often with great care, lending a kind of delicacy to the day, a femininity to counterweigh the spit-in-the-hand dealings of the men folk. There is a vibrancy of colour, red hair, freckles and a range of ensembles guaranteed, at the very least, to attract your notice.

Many of these are travelling people, part of an ancient tribe of Gaelic nomads who have never remained in one spot for very long despite numerous integration attempts by settled society. Though they lead very simple and basic lives they have a reputation for ostentation and pomp in marking certain occasions.

But there’s business to be done. On days like these horses and ponies are their stocks and shares; the towns and squares of Ireland morph into their trading floors. In the aftermath of the Celtic Tiger, seen by many as a vacuous and immoral age, these old meeting grounds are flourishing arenas of openness & transparency.

Kenneth is a Dublin based freelance photographer who has worked for publications including the New York Times, the Financial Times & Le Monde.  Since winning the award in 2011, Kenneth has started an MFA in Photography at the University of Ulster where he is studying under Donovan Wylie and Paul Seawright.

The deadline for submitting entries for this years award is November 22nd. You can submit your photographic series digitally via: www.oneillaward.com

Shortlisted entries and winners will be exhibited at The Strand Gallery between 18th – 31st January 2013.

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