Portraits of 21st Century Hippies

Steve-DavisI am a mother of two babies. I cloth diaper, breastfeed and we do attachment parenting. I try to be as environmentally cautious as I can be with the resources we have today. If only I had a garden available, I would love to live off the land, and grow my own produce, and raise poultry/eggs. In my free time I like to crochet. —Melony, 20, Mother/Student

For Steve Davis’ series Back to the Garden, his only criterion was to photograph people whom self-identify as 21st century hippies. Once he found his subjects, he took sharp, vivid photographs of their features, behind white backgrounds, framed like saints. Despite the individuals’ different backgrounds and occupations, each person was able to connect to the lifestyle and philosophy of a contemporary hippie. Davis’ series rejects the idea that hippie culture is anachronistic and on the other hand, proves that the movement is still very much alive.

Steve_Davis_PhotographyI have a psychedelic spirituality, tan bare feet, long dreadlocked hair, have hitchhiked thousands and thousands of miles, chased the Dead when Jerry was still alive, dance under the stars at electronic music festivals, soak sky-clad in natural hot springs, live in my jeep wandering up and down the West Coast, and currently am camping at a communal village in Santa Cruz with a tribe of beautiful open-minded Free Spirits in Love with Life. —John, 37, Tattoo Artist

Steve_Davis_PhotographyI believe that the earth is alive, full of true wisdom, deserving of respect and love, and that we are completely lost if we don’t get to know her. —Jorie, 25, Natural Builder/Pizza Cook

Steve_Davis_PhotographyI don’t usually claim to be a hippie, though I hope others see it in me, because claiming it seems presumptuous, like claiming to be intelligent or enlightened. People might see me as a 21st century hippie because I care about the earth, animals, plants, people and social justice. I make important decisions primarily from my conscience rather than from my wallet, for convenience or for other reasons, and I try not to let others’ opinions of me affect me too much. —John, 40, Professor

Steve_Davis_PhotographyI’m a 21st century hippie because I fully support counter culture and gypsy life. —Eleanor, 28, Student/Artist

Steve_Davis_PhotographyI have successfully defied societal convention and norms in order to follow my dreams. I dedicate myself full time to my art whether that means I become homeless, whether that means I starve, whether that means I die. —Jennifer, 31, Figure Model/Musician

Steve_Davis_PhotographyHumanity is shadowed by looming insecurity, and a distortion of ideals, this leaves us scared and perpetually alone. I try not to let fear stifle my opinion of this beautiful planet that has graciously hosted us (and in turn we infect her like a plague of locust). I try not to let fear mast my smile. Spread your love like butter and we’ll all be golden. —Alex, 19, Fry Cook

Steve_Davis_PhotographyAs cliché as it sounds, I believe in love and peace above all else. —Laura, 22, Student/Tattoo Artist

Steve_Davis_PhotographyI have taken from the hippie ethic what I have found to be meaningful, and have incorporated my own values, influenced, of course, by growing up in the 21st century. Community building is one ethic I am passionate about sustaining into the future. 21st century technology gives us a river of tools and information that can help our generation achieve our goals, particularly by learning about what other people are doing all over the world. It gives communities a way to network with each other, especially, as I have found in my own endeavors, with regards to music and to food. Technologies like the Internet also allow people a platform to share their experiences and beliefs which helps create opportunities for understanding across social divides. —Paul, 22, Student/Musician

Steve_Davis_PhotographyI am a 21st century hippie, because I do my best to live my life within my truth while humbly learning from others. —Jackie, 26, Artist/Student/Barista

This post was contributed by photographer Sophie Butcher.

  • angela alvarez

    This is just AWESOME! So good to know that what we fought for in the ’60’s wasn’t completely lost! Right on, you guys. Thanks for keeping the spirit of peace, love, and freedom alive!

  • Wes McIntyre

    Refreshing. I adore these folks. I aspire to their commitment and willingness to live other than the norm.

  • Very nice to see these colorful individuals. In the sixties I lived up and down the Bay Area Peninsula in mid California. The term hippie had recently been used as a label by Herb Cain of the San Francisco Chronicle and I recall my friends saying don’t ever let them call you a hippie. In my view we should just accept the term as the Quakers did their labeling, and thus I accepted it and ever since have considered myself a hippy. Indeed many who considered themselves hippy’s in the sixties are still hippys, and many have raised or inspired younger hippys. It is a positive to see these younger folk who ascribe to the philosophy of being a hippy. I should add in Germany shortly after the turn of the last century, the early 1900s, many young people joined a movement that was similar to the sixties one as it called for a return to the earth and away from industrial life.
    peace and hugs

  • Tina

    Where are the Black hippies?

  • Sea Witch

    Lots of them..look for the dreadlocks and Afro hairstyles in hippie photos! There was no race bar in the Hippies world.

  • mb

    white people appropriating dreadlocks + using the word “gypsy” which is a racial slur- this shoot and its subjects are offensive at the very least.

  • Adam Hawthorne

    Well, not quite: “gypsy” is not a race.

    And dreadlocks are a hairstyle, dictated by hair type, not skin type.

  • mb

    hey thanks for the feedback Adam, but I’m well aware that gypsy is not a race- but it’s again a slur , against Romani people.

    and regarding dreadlocks perhaps you should read this:

  • Adam Hawthorne

    Oh, you’re welcome!

    I’m so glad that you’re aware that ‘gypsy’ is not a race… ..yet, you referred to it as a “racial” slur, rather than just ‘slur’….. so, I guess…. …you’re not *actually* aware?
    While you are quick to challenge this person’s use of the word ‘gypsy’ I might ask: have you actually interviewed her, and verified that she not actually a gypsy? Or someone of the appropriate national/ethnic background that might qualify her to identify as ‘gypsy’?

    And I have seen that Tumblr account –not that Tumblr is a credible source to cite… ….did you not find the information that you were looking for, on wikipedia?– and it does not actually dispute the fact that hair type is not specific to a skin color.
    Hair does not know the melanin content of the skin living millimeters away: hair does what it wants, regardless of how you may try to oppress it.

  • mb

    lol. just because the slur does not have the name of the race in it, doesn’t mean it’s not a racial slur. What kind of logic is that. And if she’s Romani, it’s doubtful that she’s casually using that term- because again it is a racial slur.

    as a white person I don’t really think it’s your place to be talking about “oppressing” hair especially when it comes to dreadlocks. Stay in your lane.


    adam, would you think the same thing if this series were called portraits of 21st century rabbis, and it featured a bunch of gentiles with payos, discussing their support of the ‘kike life,’ and their spiritual connection to kabbalah?

    because that’s kind of the same thing. i’m jewish and i’d find that pretty fucking offensive.

    like don’t get me wrong, peace love and understanding are great. tons of sixties hippie types were instrumental in all sorts of activism. but in this photography series, we see a selection of people that are so white they are almost luminescent, and who (not all of them, but definitely some) seem to be highly unaware (from these blurbs) that many aspects of their aesthetic are not just derivative, but actually appropriating, aspects of POC’s cultures.

    yes, all sorts of people have all sorts of hair that may form into what we commonly refer to as ‘dreadlocks.’ i have ~straight flaxen hair and you can damn well bet that it can eventually, physically, form into a dreadlock. i can also physically tan my skin until i resemble a roasted chestnut (~seasonal~ reference). that doesn’t mean that doing that while talking about how i love bob marley, or how it makes me feel so spiritually connected to my yoga practice, WOULDN’T make me a culture appropriating tool.

  • Nee Grumps

    Peace and love are the only true way for a meaningful life..

  • KiKi KrazyKat

    I dunno.. I liked the heavily tattoo’d, dreadlock guy from Santa Cruz. Very handsome and free spirited. Rowr!

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