It’s strange to write this on the internet, the forefront of all things technological and modern… but some people are deciding to leave it all behind. For various reasons — from seeing the effects of modern society on the natural world, to the way people are increasingly connected to electronic devices, or the way the rat race of consumerism envelops the fabric of our communities — a number of people are choosing to live a more ‘down to earth’ existence, getting them in touch with the land in older, now forgotten ways.
French photographer Eric Valli spent a number of years with 4 groups of these interesting people, collecting intimate images of their daily lives in the American wilderness that they now call home. The images we have here are from 3 of those groups, each with a varying level of societal connection.
The first, a lone huntsman living in the southern bayou, looks to be somewhat connected to modern technology. He has small battery-powered lighting, a modern canoe and has a bottle of ketchup on his table. The second, a family who dresses in almost Amish fashion, steps further from modernity, living by lamplight, using horses and growing their food themselves. The third group however, takes living in the wilds to a whole different level. These young wilderness seekers have donned leather clothes of their own making, bows and arrows, and look like they could have walked off the set of Dances With Wolves. While the picture of this less than cleanly crew inside a modern grocery store certainly raises some questions about how much they actually live in the wilds, it could be simply to emphasize the contrasts of their life against the modern world.
Interested to find out more about these highly unique individuals? If you read french you’re in luck, as Eric Valli recently published a book about his experience, titled Rencontres hors du temps. You can also find a sneak-peek of Valli’s upcoming film, Lynx, which follows one of these individuals as she trains others about living outside of modern civilization. For more of his thought provoking photography, see Valli’s website ericvalli.com.