2011 — student award of excellence
Mackenzie Reiss is a freelance photojournalist from Leucadia, Ca. She got her first job as a reporter at 17, and has been hooked on visual story-telling ever since. Mackenzie left the beaches and sunshine of California to attend college at Syracuse University, where she earned a degree in photojournalism in 2011. She was the photo editor of the independent student newspaper, The Daily Orange, and style editor at JERK Magazine. During her college career, she also spent a semester abroad in London and Ireland to further her education in photography.
The self-ascribed travel junkie has traveled throughout Ireland, South Africa, Serbia and Kosovo pursuing her dream of bringing awareness to social and humanitarian issues.
When I asked Michael Collins to tell me about his family, he drove me to his uncle’s house in northern Dublin. As we pulled into Avilla Park, a modest tract of one-story houses, I asked which one was his.
Collins gestured to the 56 homes in front of us, “All of them,” he said, “56 houses and all of them Collins’.”
Michael Collins is an Irish Traveller. He is just one of roughly 36,000 that make up Ireland’s last nomadic society. The Travellers are relatively unknown outside of Ireland, but face overwhelming levels of stigma and discrimination within their community.
Their penchant for migrating in large groups and camping in public spaces, quickly earned them the label of ‘nuisance’ in Dublin and other metropolitan areas. For a people who once earned stable livings as craftsman and traders, the spread of technology and globalization has come as a devastating blow.
To preserve their lifestyle and traditions, the Irish Travellers must prove to the government and fellow Dubliners that those are things worth saving.