Passepartout is all about documentaries and visual stuff I find worth seeing.

Nature and freedom: Antoine Bruy’s photos of Europeans living off the grid

I don’t like jokes about husbands and wives, and I don’t like comments about dreadful Monday mornings and happy Friday afternoons. Yet, here I am, pretty sleepy and confused on a Monday morning, sitting in my office, dragging myself through the hours, wanting to be somewhere outside instead of here. And it’s in this kind of moments – sometimes powerful, sometimes just a thought – when opting out sounds free and romantic and natural. Sounds like the way it should be. And I’m not alone in this.

Dreaming of a free and off the grid life might be just as cliche as commenting about Mondays. There are good reasons to desire that life and good ones to stay in the city. And I have no idea when one should follow their romantic instinct and get out, and when one should stay, but most people don’t ever do it. Yet some do, and perhaps more people should. Or perhaps the idea serves most people well as an escape fantasy, a safety belt idea. In fact, most people don’t have a real idea of what this life would really be like.

Antoine Bruy‘s photo series – Scrublands –  offers a glimpse into a life outside the competition and the need to achieve the invisible. I love this portrayal he makes because it’s raw and (apparently) he doesn’t try to romanticize it. This life is not easy but it’s close to nature and it’s simple. I must admit that my idea of getting away looks more like this or like this. Plus a whole bunch of animals. Really a whole bunch.

Some of these people lived in cities and decided is not for them. Some of them had good jobs. Some of them are now fully self-sufficient and some are not. And I bet some are happy and some are not, just like everywhere else.

Experiencing ‘what it’s like’ might be a good idea if you actually think of getting away. Bruy worked on a farm in 2010, somewhere in Australia and that’s when the idea of the project appeared. You can do a volunteer program through Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms. He became fascinated by the lifestyle and wanted to see more and experience more while documenting it. He says he doesn’t come into these people’s life as a photographer, because he wants to experience what it’s like to be there. I think it’s important to know that he doesn’t really photograph the TVs and all the ‘non-remote-real-life-stuff’ these people own, so in this sense Bruy builds a bit of the feeling of these photos himself, he frames them a bit, makes life there seem closer to nature and isolation than it really is.

He travelled and I think still travels – it’s an ongoing project – around Europe, from Spain to Swiss to Romania. And this is the result. (info via Slate)

Good stuff to consider. Or at least to help dream away a lousy Monday morning.


A view of El Pardal, Sierra de Cazorla, Spain, 2013.


The Pyrenees, France, 2012.

Urs, the Pyrenees, France, 2012.

nside a geodesic dome, Sierra del Hacho, Spain, 2013.




A tipi, the Pyrenees, France, 2012.

Olivier nursing a sheep, Ardèche, France, 2010.

Julian working on a bathtub, Sierra del Hacho, Spain, 2013.

Landscape with a red car, Sierra de Cazorla, Spain, 2013.

Jost, Alps, Switzerland, 2013.

Composting toilet, Sierra Nevada, Spain, 2013.

A yurt, Sierra Nevada, Spain, 2013.




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