Since 2010, I traveled throughout Europe to meet men and women who made the radical choice to live away from cities, willing to abandon their lifestyle based on performance, efficiency and consumption.
The people and places depicted in my pictures display various fates which I think, should not only be seen at a political level, but more importantly as daily and immediate experiences.
These are in some ways, spontaneous responses to the societies these men and women have left behind. Therefore their land is exploited but never submitted, time has lost its tight linearity to become a slow and deliberate pace. No more clock ticking but the ballet of days and nights, seasons and lunar cycles.
To make these pictures, I volunteered in many different places using the wwoof network (Worldwide Opportunities in Organic Farms, is a worldwide movement linking volunteers with organic farmers and growers to promote cultural and educational experiences based on trust and non-monetary exchange, thereby helping to building a sustainable global community). Thanks to this network, I have the possibility to spend a lot of time with the people I photograph. I give them a hand for different kind of tasks, like growing vegetables, fixing a roof, building a straw bale house or taking care of animals if they have some. This time allows me, somehow, to connect to the land, understand the way it works, and know the people I’m living with. It has been quite natural for me to adapt a kind of methodology that you can generally find in domains like sociology. The idea of “participant observation” derives from that, and helped me both to get accepted and to get the closest I can to what this people are facing in there everyday life. This way of working gives me the opportunity to make very intimate photographs, which is what I’m looking for.
This documentary project is an attempt to make a kind of contemporary tale and to give back a little bit of magic to our modern civilization.
So far, I travelled throughout 5 different european countries including France, Spain and Switzerland to make this body of work which has been totally self funded. Today, I need your help and support to make what I would call the american chapter of this project. I plan to come in the USA to make photographs of people who retreat in remote places in the Appalachian mountains. America can indeed be considered as the birthplace of these “back-to-the-land” movement. These phenomenons associated with the 70s are still active nowadays and even regain interest in our time.
All the funds will be used to cover travel expenses, buy films, and eventually process and scan all of them. After this trip, I should have enough images to start working on a book, which will be the final stage of this project.
About Scrublands by Sujong Song, Curator
“Scrublands by Antoine Bruy is about people who have turned their backs on modern civilization and its emphasis on consumerism and productivity, choosing instead the slower, if inconvenient, life that paces itself with nature. The series shows the changing of the seasons, and the newly adopted routine of daily life that follows the earth’s own rhythm. The photography is quiet, like the life its subjects chose, but also carries within it a deep resonance. The work fuses together then discards the landscape, humans, and objects within each frame, ultimately showing that it was inevitable all these elements would exist in this place. It’s immediately apparent a lot of time was invested into these poetic, polished images. More than anything, authenticity can be read in each photograph, which lends the series an unspoken air of trust. Bruy throws out a sobering question about our way of life and existence. The fact that he does it so eloquently in a language none other than photography is even more exceptional.”
— Sujong Song, Daegu Photo Festival
Antoine Bruy is a french photographer graduated from the Vevey School of Photography in Switzerland, Antoine Bruy was notably honored with a Young Swiss Talent Prize in 2010 and participated in several group exhibitions in Switzerland and abroad. The intimacy of humans, physical environments and relationship to the economic and intellectual conditions that determine them, are his main concern. His earlier work explore similar themes: “En Friche” examines a mining area shaped by industrial restructuring, while “Toy’s Land” depicts housing developments as if they were toys. Bruy currently lives in Lille, France.
Powerful Portraits of People Living Off the Grid, WIRED, August 11, 2014
Photographer Documents The Men And Women Who Choose…, Huffington Post, August 11, 2014
Scrublands, LensCulture, July 31, 2014
Antoine Bruy, Booooooom!, July 24, 2014
Antoine Bruy: Scrublands, Lenscratch, July 17, 2014
Scrublands by Antoine Bruy, iGNANT, June 24, 2014
Fascinating Portraits Of People Who Reject The Modern World…, DesignTAXI, June 20, 2014
Fascinating portraits of europeans who have abandoned civilization…, Feature Shoot, June 16, 2014
What Living off the Grid in Europe Looks Like , Slate, June 16, 2014
Antoine Bruy’s “Scrublands” Juxtapoz, 20 May, 2014
Scrublands, The New-Yorker, May 19, 2014
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