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‘Scrublands’ – Photographer Spends 3 Years With Europeans Who Have Abandoned Civilization

By Hanssie on August 19th 2014

I’ve been watching the 2006 TV series Jericho, which is about the United States being bombed and how the people in a tiny Kansas town cope with the aftermath. They have no electricity, food is scarce, no internet and there is no connection to the outside world. At least, they have running water. It is not a life I think I could survive in – I mean, no Starbucks?! – and definitely one I would not choose voluntarily. I can’t even go camping for more than one night. And that’s pushing it.


Yet, in Europe, there are groups of people that have eschewed civilization to live off the land and off the grid. Leaving the fast-paced, stress-inducing, coffee-slurping, migraine causing rat race, these people live off the land, deep in the wilderness, choosing isolation over society and its conveniences. French photographer Antoine Bruy was fascinated by their “radical lifestyle” choice and began a photography project documenting the men and women who have forsaken the dependent lifestyle of the rest of the world for “greater energy, food, economic, or social autonomy.” For the last three years, he has hitchhiked across Europe and lived with these people, photographing their lives in the series, Scrublands.


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Bruy learned their self sufficient ways, helped them with their farms, took care of animals and photographed their humble dwellings. He says of the series:

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.

27_anotinebruy11 27_anotinebruy16 27_anotinebruy20 27_anotinebruy20b 27_anotinebruy22 27_anotinebruy26So far, his self funded project has taken him through 5 different countries and now he is planning to come to the US to document the people living in the Appalachian Mountains. He has started a FotoFund campaign to help fund the journey, the cost of film and compiling the images in a book. You can contribute to his project here.

To see more of Antoine Bruy’s work, check out his website here.

[via The Mind Unleashed]

CREDITS: All photographs by Antoine Bruy are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Jeff Morrison

    Thanks for sharing

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  2. Gonzalo Broto

    Captivating story and incredible pictures to illustrate it, great job!

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  3. Hannes Nitzsche

    Beautiful images to a beautiful story! Thanks for sharing! Sometimes I can totally relate to that, but that would also mean leaving my DSLR behind, which I think I would be struggling with…

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  4. Ji Hoon Heo

    I lived in KY for two years and im excited to see what he captures in the Appalachia region. Its gonna be great.

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    • Chuck Eggen

      I’m from KY and remember so many of the folks down in Eastern KY that lived this way years ago. My Aunt actually cooked on a wood stove and heated the house with a coal burner. As bad as it may seem living like that, some of my fondest memories come from visits down there.

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  5. Rafael Steffen

    Thanks for sharing this great story.

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