Photographer Danila Tkachenko went out in search of the few that had escaped conventional society to live alone in nature, miles away from cities, villages, and human contact.
Those he found are true outcasts and hermits, rebels who fled modern society to live throughout the dense, harsh woods throughout Russia and Ukraine. They have different reasons for living the way they do, but all of them have lost the social perceptions most of us define ourselves by.
Tkachenko, who grew up in the big city, says on his site that he’s always been drawn to the wilderness, a place where he, like many, can lose the social context and truly be himself.
The photographs he captured against near-impossible odds, and compiled them all into his latest book, called Escape, available now.
From Tkachenko’s website:
The main characters of my project violate social standards for different reasons. By a complete withdrawal from society they go live alone in the wild nature, gradually dissolving in it and losing their social identity. While exploring their experience, it is important for me to understand if one is able to break free from social dependence and get away from the public to the subjective – and thus, to make a step towards oneself.
I am concerned about the issue of internal freedom in the modern society: how feasible it is, when you’re surrounded by a social framework all the time? School, work, family – once in this cycle, you are a prisoner of your own position, and have to do what you’re supposed to. You should be pragmatic and strong, or become an outcast or a lunatic. How to remain yourself in the midst of this?
If these sort of men interest you, consider checking out our previous piece on one hermit that managed to live for 28 years without human contact.