BY: CONNOR BRIAN
At certain moments we all feel the desire to escape from it all. Even if it’s only a brief walk or a long drive through the countryside, there is truly no greater companion than ourselves. Yet there are few who can break free from social dependence, away from the urban comforts, to live alone in nature. Photographer Danila Tkachenko set out to document the hermits of Russia and Ukraine who have crossed the tree line to exclude themselves completely from society.
“I am concerned about the issue of internal freedom in the modern society: is it at all reachable, when you’re surrounded by social framework? School, work, family – once in this cycle, you are a prisoner of your own position” writes Tkachenko
Solitude is something of a misunderstanding in the 21st century; all too often we confuse solitude with loneliness. But when you are alone and begin to feel the space grow vast around you, the realization comes that you are beginning to make a step towards self-understanding. This is why though many of us have grown up in the heart of large city, we find ourselves drawn into the wild.
Tkachenko asks that when living outside the structure of organized society will a person “be pragmatic and strong, or become an outcast and a lunatic? How do you remain yourself in the midst of this?”
And that IS the question, but until you take a moment to step outside of social context and the roles that bind you, you will never be able to answer that question.
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front the only essential facts of life. And see if I could not learn what it had to teach and not, when I came to die, discovered that I had not lived” – Henry David Thoreau
You can purchase the photobook here