Themmuns is a photo project on youth in Northern Ireland.

The title refers to a slang word for ›them ones‹, the opposing side in Northern Ireland debates among Catholic Irish Republicans and Protestant Loyalists. Fellow members of one‘s own side are known as ›ussuns‹.

With UK’s 2016 Brexit referendum Nothern Ireland will have to leave the EU. Local Protestant Loyalists predominantly supported Brexit whereas the other fraction of mainly Catholic Irish Republican citizens voted to remain. After more than 30 years of conflict during the so called ›Troubles‹ one of the fundamentals of the Peace Process declared in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement is the open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland – wich will, in a post Brexit scenario, become an external border of the European Union.

In this project I was interested in documenting daily life situations with youth from both confessional communities and find out more about their concerns, surroundings and way of life. These observations may often have revealed more similarities than difference of lifestyle in a world of sectarian strife and political conflict mainly maintained by the older generation.

The work is about an empathic and sensitive view on whatever I felt could contribute to a comprehensive documentary of a social condition and a quest for identity of a young generation.

My gratitude to all the young individuals from both sides that I had the chance to meet and who allowed me to follow them with the camera!

›I’m not sectarian, I think we’re all the same‹
Sam, 21, Shankill area, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Jens Schwarz, born 1968 in Berlin, studied history of arts in Paris and photography in Munich. He works in the field of portraiture and documentary on personal projects and international assignments. In his work he focuses on sociopolitical issues that often deal with questions of both individual and social identity. His projects received several grants throughout his career and his work has been nominated, among others, for the German Henri-Nannen-Prize and showcased at Les Rencontres de la Photographie, Arles, France.

Themmus project featured in:

2018 Les Rencontres de la Photographie, Arles, France, screening
2018 Luma Rencontres Dummy Book Award Arles, France, finalist
2018 Getxophoto International Image Festival, Getxo, Basque Country, screening
2018 Photobook Week Aarhus Dummy Award 2018, Denmark, finalist
2018 Preus National Museum of Photography, Horten, Norway, dummy book presentation
2018 Direct Look photo contest, Moscow, Russia, finalist
2018 Athens Photo Festival, Greece, shortlist
2018 Meitar Award 2018, Tel Aviv, Israel, finalist
2018 Photo Is:rael, Tel Aviv, Israel, group exhibition

Contact & legal info:
jensschwarz [at]

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