Hello! I am Eilís, the new editor of Gorm Media's blog. I am delighted to be kicking off our YOUnifier of the month series. Once a month we will be highlighting someone exemplary who is using their voice to unify across social, cultural and political divisions. If there is someone you think we should be talking about, get in touch - email email@example.com.
Photo Source: tamaraeckhardt.com
Our very first YOUnifier of the month is Tamara Eckhardt, a German documentary and portrait photographer who lived in in Cork, Ireland for a few years as a child. She has very special connection to Limerick however.
Last month her photography series 'Youth of the Island Field.' documented young people who live in St Mary's Park and was exhibited in Ormston House, a cultural resource centre in the heart of Limerick city. Known locally as the Island Field, St Mary's Park is often the focus of negative press, as its residents are subject to difficult circumstances due to poverty, drug misuse, unemployment and a lack of government funding to revitalise the area. St Mary's Park scores high on the Pobal Deprivation Index, a method of measuring the disadvantage of a geographical area by analysing census data.
Photo source: ormstonhouse.com
Tamara's photography series aimed to look past this and encourage people to see St Mary's Park in a more positive light, with an aim to breakdown harmful stereotypes of those living within disadvantaged areas. Since 2019 she visited and took time to interact with and get to know the people of the area, known for being reluctant to trust outsiders. Yet the residents of the Island Field are known for being a tight knit community. She chose to put particular focus on children who are growing up in the area, stating on her website that her work 'deals with marginalized social groups and minorities.' Tamara gained the trust of the residents of the area, and her photography is a poignant representation of that trust. The photography depicts every day life in St Mary's Park, an inner perspective of an area so often solely viewed in a negative prejudiced way.
Her series 'Youth of the Island Field' was exhibited in Ormston House from 20 April to 11 June 2022, to widespread acclaim.
I felt that Tamara deserved the title YOUnifier of the Month because her photography challenges the prejudices of us, the viewer and encourages to look past stereotypes. We should not be so quick to judge based on appearances and celebrate difference.
You can look at more of Tamara's work on her website www.tamaraeckhardt.com.