Mattia Zoppellaro was born in Rovigo in 1977. He studied photography at IED in Milan from 1997 to 2000. In 2002, after two years working experience at the Photography department of Fabrica, Mattia moved to England, where he started shooting for several music magazines and record labels. Between assignments, Mattia develops different projects from social reportage (Irish Travellers, Kosovar Refugees, Western Africa Witch Hunters, Hackney’s Homeless, Maximum Security Prisons in Italian North East), to entertainment (Sicilian Religious Ceremonies, Milan Porn Fair) and youth culture features (European Rave Parties, Mexican Punks, Dakar’s Hip Hop Scene). He is now living between London and Milan.
Irish travellers, also called Pavees, are a traditionally itinerant ethnic group who maintain a set of traditions. They are predominantly English speaking. The origins of this group are unknown, but there are several assumptions that are difficult to verify given the oral tradition of these people. Some say their ancestor was an artisan who had agreed to build the cross of Christ, and was then condemned to wander without finding a permanent abode.
Travellers converge at the horse fairs to buy and sell horses, meet with friends and relations, and to celebrate their music, history and folklore. Appleby’s fair takes place every year in June. It’s one of the biggest and oldest in Europe. It is held outside the town, along the river Eden, near Gallows Hill – named so after the public hangings that were once carried out there.
Mattia’s work has been published in Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Sunday Times Magazine, and the Financial Times Weekend, among many others.
To view more of Mattia’s work, please visit his website.