Toby Binder has been photographing the life of teenagers in Britain for more than 10 years. Having worked in England and Scotland, he focused his lens on Belfast because of the Brexit referendum. Northern Ireland would be forced to leave the European Union despite the majority of its citizens voting to remain.
“There is a serious concern that Brexit will threaten the Peace Agreement of 1998 that ended the violence between Protestant Unionists and Catholic Nationalists who live in homogeneous neighborhoods that are divided by walls still today,” Binder said in an interview with In Sight.
He noted that those who could be most affected by a resurgence in violence would be the youth, who were too young to vote in the referendum. His new book, “Wee Muckers,” is an attempt to show that the similarities outweigh the differences between youth in traditionally Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods in Belfast, from wearing the same style of clothes to grappling with the same social issues.
Binder cites Paul McVeigh, the author and Belfast native who wrote the introduction to “Wee Muckers,” as describing this sentiment best:
“It made me realize that poverty, political strife and living in fear was what we had in common. And the Troubles has become this hugely enveloping, shared experience that binds those generations as much as it divides. I realized I had more in common with poor Belfast Protestants who had experienced the Troubles than Catholics who held the same passport as me in South of Ireland.”
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