Photographer Antoine Bruy is fascinated by people who live a self-sufficient lifestyle.
For his ongoing series “Scrublands,” Bruy traveled throughout Europe from 2010-2013 with the goal of meeting those who choose to live off the grid. Away from cities and away from a lifestyle he describes in his artist statement as “based on performance, efficiency and consumption.”
Without a fixed route of travel, Bruy began his project living and volunteering on different farms across Europe that he found through the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF), a network that connect volunteers with organic farms and growers. To gain a greater understanding of his subjects, Bruy spent weeks to months in one location.
“I spent a long time with the people in the places I visited.” Bruy told Getty. “It allowed me to understand the place, the way it worked, and to get to know the people I was living with. This way of working creates an atmosphere of trust, and it gave me the opportunity to create intimate photographs” he said.
Although his subjects all choose to live off the grid for different reasons, Bruy told Getty that some of his subjects share a “general skepticism” of western societies’ effectiveness. He said some his subjects also share “a refusal of consumption-based lifestyles, wage systems, the exploitation of natural resources …Others encountered hard times, such as bankruptcy, and saw in this project an opportunity to try something else.”
In an interview with Slate, Bruy said that his subjects all live in different degrees of self-sufficiency. “’I’m trying to find pictures which give a feeling of being out of reality somehow and out of time,” he said. “In a lot of these places, there are sometimes computers and televisions but I don’t want to show them in the pictures. I want to tell a story.”