Off the Grid: Photos of Life in the Woods

One of the most interesting moments in Cheryl Strayed’s new memoir Wild happens when the author — who spent three months hiking the Pacific Coast Trail following her mother’s death — crosses paths with an interviewer from The Hobo Times, and he mistakes her for a female hobo (which for him, is like spotting the Great White Whale). Despite her repeated attempts to make him understand that she is in fact a hiker, he asks her a few questions, and even gives her something called a “hobo survival kit” for her trouble.

While living in circumstances not very different from what Strayed endured, the subjects of a photo series by French photographer Eric Valli, choose to embrace the idea of inhabiting the fringes of modern American society. “There are growing number of people who have decided to live light on the earth, to not be a part of problem anymore,” Valli writes of the documentary project, which we spotted on The Fox Is Black. “I spent the last few years with four of them, striving for harmony with nature in the most pristine corners of United States.” Click through for a selection of fascinating photos from his Off the Grid series, and visit Valli’s website to check out more of his fantastic work.

Photo credit: Eric Valli