July 15, 2020

What Can We Learn About Self-isolation From Hermits?

Elliot Caunce

Still and Moving ImageOff-grid Scotland: Stories of Modern-day Hermits, 2020

The project is a love letter to the great outdoors, inspired by the cathartic need to get out, get lost, and ultimately, disconnect. The still and moving image series is a long-form documentary project that holds a lens to four of Scotland’s modern-day hermits. There are currently four case-studies in the series: Jake Williams, Sara Maitland, Davy McDonald, and Ken Smith. Their stories became my final major project on the BA Press & Editorial Photography course at Falmouth University. Over the course of the last year, I made multiple visits to stay with each subject and gained invaluable insight into their solitary lifestyle choice. In many cases, they live without mains electricity or conventional utilities. The trip to get supplies can be treacherous, especially in winter. At a time when the subject of self-isolation has become topical, I want to challenge our perception of solitude by creating Scotland’s first complete photographic record of modern-day hermits. My intention is to release a book titled ‘An Ode to the Highland Hermit’ and multi-media exhibition next year.