We first discovered this work after it was submitted to the Exposure Awards 2014. Although it was not chosen as a finalist by the jury, the editors of LensCulture were impressed and decided to publish this feature article about it. Enjoy!
A cold and rainy night in the city.
Inside, sizzling fire and warm blankets.
Raindrops on the tin roof.
Walls so close that you can barely stretch out your arms.
An old caravan.
These days, we perceive living in an apartment or a house as a need, a necessity. We want a place where we can close a door and isolate ourselves from our surroundings. A place where contact with people around us becomes an option, a choice.
The spaces where we live may be rented or owned, and long ago, this distinction became appealing. We wind up constructing our lives around affording that space, without questioning it. A home with a certain level of comfort is a high priority. It becomes harder and harder to break away from society’s standard lifestyle and abandon this security.
However, some do.
Every major city in Germany hosts at least one community of people living in caravans, trucks, or trailers. Despite the fact that they precariously rely on a blind eye from the local authorities, the scene is very lively. Craftsmen, engineers, artists, students, and teachers choose to abandon the comfort of conventional housing and embrace this way of life.
At first glance, it might seem that the main motivation for this choice is of a financial nature, or influenced merely by the desire to be mobile. These aspects certainly play a role, but observing one of these communities reveals a deeper connection to an ambulatory life. Open doors, shared resources, and communal decision-making are signs of vibrant, collective life. Handcrafted interiors show self-determination and dependence on the work of one’s own hands. Gathering belongings in such a small mobile space speaks to the desire to remain unbounded. This lifestyle embraces minimalism, cutting ties with consumerism, rather than simply cutting ties with a place.