Living “off the grid” can seem appealing at times. Having a cell phone should not mean we are necessarily available, and yet we are mostly always reachable and able to answer. Finding alternatives to the “normal” way of modern life was a primary goal of the members of Matavenero’s eco-village, high up in the mountains of León, Spain.
Es Tu Sueño? (Is It Your Dream?) is a series of photographs by Spanish photographer Antonio Guerra that examines the relationship between individuals and their environment in Matavenero. We all have our own notions of idyllic, though life anywhere is still full of routine, struggle, challenges, and growth. We spoke with the photographer for more details on this project.
Tell us about Matavenero.
“The town is totally isolated and you can only access it by walking through a trail; it is impossible to get to it by car. The houses of the town don’t have electricity, water, motor appliances, or other supplies common to modern life. Its inhabitants have adopted a lifestyle apart from society, living in an ecologically sound way that is based on taking advantage of every single natural resource. Therefore the use of renewable energy sources is essential. These people live in harmony with nature and the environment, far from urban locations.”
How do they live?
“Their environment is an extension of their way of life, and for ideological and environmental reasons, they have decided to build their houses through improvised techniques.”
How did you want to approach this photographically?
“This story focuses on portraits and I have tried to establish a relationship between the subjects and what their habitat represents. Most of the houses are very small, and are full of little details that explain the moral values of people who have different motivations from each other.”