Portrait | Winner

Toby Binder

Munich / DE www.toby-binder.de

Wee Muckers – Youth of Belfast


In Belfast Protestant Unionists and Catholic Nationalists live in homogeneous neighborhoods that are divided by walls till today. The portraits show Protestant Unionist teenagers as well as Catholic Irish Nationalists. This series shows that these two communities who seem to have irreconcilable differences, are more similar than they’d both like to admit. While they still stick to their own symbols of identity and tradition, they wear the same clothes, have the same haircuts, take the same drugs and often have the same worries such as violence, unemployment, social discrimination and therefore, lack of prospects. »Are you born or do you become your nationality? Is it something from which you can’t escape and, if so, is nationality a kind of prison? I’m beginning to think so. Those bordered communities […] were physical and mental prisons. In Northern Ireland […] both communities were fighting over which nation they stood in. _Paul McVeigh, Belfast born author_


Toby Binder, born 1977 in Esslingen, studied at the Stuttgart Academy of
Art and Design. Soon he focused his photography on social, environmental and political topics. Based in Argentina and Germany he works on assignments and personal projects where he finds his topics in post-war and crisis situations as well as in the daily life of people.

His work is patient and intimate, without being pervasive and has been awarded internationally, e.g. with the Philip-Jones-Griffiths-Award in 2018, the Sony-World-Photo-Awards and the Nannen- Preis in 2017. The same year he received an Honorable Mention at the UNICEF Photo of the Year.

His work is published by Stern, Sueddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, die Zeit, Greenpeace Magazin, Amnesty Journal, Neue Zürcher Zeitung and others

Jury Statement

The artificial division of the Northern Irish city of Belfast by a wall represents the division of many cities and countries worldwide.With his black-and-white portrait series ‘Wee Muckers’, Toby Binder uses simple but powerful means to show that, as an outsider, there are no differences between the young representatives of the enemy fronts. The Brexit and the still uncertain consequences for the fragile peace between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland give the series all the more relevance.

Toby Binder manages to convey the human side of the still smouldering Northern Irish conflict to us with this sensitive portrait series of teenagers.