words by Kari Hendrick photos by Iain Mckell
Stemming from the movement of the 60’s and 70’s (like all good things do), a group of hybrid hippie-punks started roaming the English countryside, hopping between festivals and coming together in likeminded communities of free radical thinkers – the New Gypsies.
These young rebels abandoned the city for the country, meandering about in elaborately decorated horse drawn carriages. In 1985, photographer Iain McKell joined these nomadic craftsman for ten years on the road. What he was able to bring to our eyes is a fantasy world on wheels.
“It’s where Summer Holiday meets A Clockwork Orange” McKell describes. Completely bizarre and incredibly beautiful. With no historical ties to the Romani, these New Age Gypsies were not born into this way of life, but instead chose it. They make their living by working the festival circuit, selling handmade goods, and performing art. The idea, which is not foreign to any of us but certainly hard to commit to, is really to live a self sustainable and simple life of complete independence.
McKell’s history of photography included not only other punks, rockabillies and skinheads, but also high end fashion and design campaigns for the likes of Vogue, Mercedes, etc. He has an incredible eye for shooting in unique, narrative locations and encourages the observer to find the beauty in it all.
Not that the New Gypsies needed any more beauty added to their already extravagant looking world, but he invited the stunning Kate Moss along for a bohemian gypsy-themed spread for V-Magazine. Combining these two worlds together, McKell created an absolute masterpiece. His work and the incredible lifestyle of the New Age Gypsies are inspiring to us all.