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Back to the Land: Stunning Photos Explore the Hunter-Gatherer Way of Life

Adrain Chesser

Trek, Marble Mountain Wilderness, California.

Adrain Chesser

Cherries, Marble Mountain Wilderness, California.

On a journey through Nevada, Idaho, California, and Oregon from 2006-2012, Seattle-based photographer Adrain Chesser experienced a spiritual awakening. Accompanied by Native American ritualist Timothy White Eagle, the two lived among a traveling “unconventional band of comrades” that had left mainstream society for a hunter-gatherer way of life—one off the grid and on the land. Embracing an adventure that balanced challenge with reward, Chesser captures this modern-day nomadic lifestyle in The Return. The group would travel based on the seasons, their daily lives filled with the collective rearing, killing and cooking of animals, foraging for berries, sleeping outdoors or creating shelter, and surviving harsh terrain.

Chesser unveils a way of life harmonious with the Earth, reminiscent of the First Nation tribes of indigenous North Americans. At the heart of what White Eagle says is both an “ideal and daily practice” is the sentiment, or rather the action, of “giving back more than you take.”

The Return was published earlier this week by Daylight. Woven throughout the book are texts and poetry by White Eagle, and others, based on the legends, folktales and mythology of Native American Indians. Find it here.

Adrain Chesser

Blood moustache, Steinacher Creek, California.

Adrain Chesser

Dressing a carcass, Arco, Idaho.

Adrain Chesser

Magpie, Deschutes River Canyon, Oregon.

Adrain Chesser

Water dance, Deschutes River, Oregon.

Adrain Chesser

Wolf pups, north of Virgin Peak, Nevada.

Adrain Chesser

Mouse in hand Dodge Pocket, Nevada.

Adrain Chesser

Breadroot, Huddles Holes, Craters of the Moon, Idaho.

Adrain Chesser

Burger King, Mesquite, Nevada.

Adrain Chesser

Dirty skirts, Geneva, Oregon.

Adrain Chesser

Knife, Dodge Pocket, Nevada.

Adrain Chesser

In the cabin, Arco, Idaho.

Adrain Chesser

Carrying water, Huddles Holes, Craters of the Moon, Idaho.

All images are © Adrain Chesser and excerpted from The Return by Adrain Chesser in collaboration with Timothy White Eagle.

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