“Man does not need society at all, it’s the society that needs man. Society is a forced measure of protection and survival. Unlike a gregarious animal, man must live alone – in nature among animals, plants and in contact with them.” – Andrey Tarkovsky.
Young photographer Danila Tkachenko uses the above quote to start his book ‘Escape’, which documents the life of people who have decided to escape from the social world and live alone in nature, far away from civilization. Danila calls them ‘Escapers,’ or men who have turned their backs on society to live alone as hermits in the wilderness of Russian and Ukrainian forests.
Despite the technological advances that we use every day to close the gap between one another, there are still some that choose to broaden it, leave everything behind and live in total solitude. Above all, ‘Escape’ perturbs by prompting us to think about our own personal freedom and confront the consequences it offers us.
The photographer explains on his 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?”
Escape is a series of photographs that are both charming and disconcerting and, like the best of documentary photographs, tell us far more than their empirical content.
Escape by Danila Tkachenko
With quotes from the Escapers
Published by Peperoni Books
120 Pages, 44 Colour images