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I made these photographs during five trips to this off-the-grid holler in rural West Virginia. The first four journeys were taken between the spring of 1974 and the summer of 1977. The most recent and likely my final drive down the creek bed that doubles as a county road was in October 2017.
Well over one thousand alternative life-style communes were established in the United States between the Summer of Love in 1967 and the early 1970s. Many were motivated by the American war in Vietnam, the murders at Kent State, the first Earth Day, Watergate, the first gasoline crisis, and an expanding anti-capitalist sentiment. These young people sought a lower impact way of life. A utopia. Virtually all were disbanded within a few years.
The place I photographed in the 1970s is still off-the-grid. When I was there this past October, it was a spectacular blue-sky day. The main house stands with some architectural changes, as do some of the out-buildings. But the vitality of people working the land, the fun of the children playing, the struggle to be self-sufficient and the search for a simpler life are long gone.
These pictures remind me that people can try to make a change, even if idealistic experiments often fail.
Due to privacy concerns, the exact location of this communal farm and the names of the people pictured, are not included.
Prints are available for sale. Please contact me if interested.