Into the Silence

“Into the Silence – Hermits of the New Millenium” is a wonderful website by Carlo Bevilacqua, photographer and documentary filmaker:
“A new utopia? A distant reality? Forget it. Hermitage might seem a paradox in our self-celebrating society but it is a growing and fascinating phenomenon, instead. Modern hermits don’t indulge in the search for isolation for social or personal ambitions, neither it’s a matter of misanthropy. Most of them come from a religious background – monks, priests, nuns – but many others are part of a well established middle class – architects, doctors, lawyers, writers and teachers – fed up with the social routine. Following their own personal path made of prayer, silence and meditation, they decided to live in isolated places to listen to and rediscover their own inner rhythm and individual atmosphere. This is the portrait of a small, solitary, soft world.”
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Bevilacqua’s extarordinary images of Hermits, Christian and non-Christian, religious and secular, are magnificent and inspiring.

See further James Estrin “Hermits of the Third Millennium” “New York Times” [August 1, 2012]:

“Five years of photographing individuals who live in self-imposed isolation from society did not make Carlo Bevilacqua want to become a hermit himself. But it did make him more conscious of the choices he makes, and more aware of his real material needs.
“You don’t need so much to live,” Mr. Bevilacqua said. “Our life is not our stuff.”
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Mr. Bevilacqua’s subjects live by themselves, separate from others, by choice. Some have had religious visions and pursue study or prayer. Others are spiritually inclined, but not religious in the classical sense. Then, there are those who just don’t like being among other people in modern society. But all live a life of intentional simplicity and isolation.
He started the project, “Into the Silence,” while photographing a book on the Aeolian Islands, near Sicily. He came across Gisbert Lippelt, a former ship captain who lives by himself in a cave. Mr. Bevilacqua spent a week with him, and afterward went on a sojourn to find, and photograph, other hermits. Of course, being hermits, some didn’t particularly want to be found and photographed. Mr. Bevilacqua spent a few days to a week with his subjects, usually living with them.”

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