Photographer Ben Murphy has produced an amazing project entitled the Riverbed, in which he captured the dwellings of people who shunned the city life of the modern world. They chose instead to create very minimal but fascinating homes out of relatively basic materials using old caravans or making wooden huts on the side of riverbeds and ravines in the countryside. Some basic architecture, some ten years of meticulous research and some brilliant photography from Ben Murphy.
At a first glance, you wouldn’t expect that these mini communities would be in a country considered to be ‘developed’, but what makes these dwellings even more astonishing is the fact that they are in south-east Spain!
The people that choose to make the hillsides their home have their roots in many marginalised subcultural groups, from punks and hippies, to new-age travellers and anarchists who reject the structured 21st century world and opt for a far simpler life.
“Distinct tribal identities exist here in hard to find places; along the banks of an infertile riverbed, in ravines and off mountain passes, in relative proximity to each other and in continual states of flux…people who reject and subvert the conventions of a structured society – from Europe, North and South America, Japan and elsewhere – gravitate to this area, making their temporal imprint on the land and local culture.”
Murphy also believes that the people who settle in this mountainous region have a lot to teach us stating, “The intention of the work is to reflect on contemporary counter-cultural identities through dwelling space,” said Murphy.
“The work aims to consider values and expectations of home, society and notions of freedom, while drawing out some of the inevitable paradoxes, compromises and entanglements inherent in rejecting the dominant system.”
HEKKTA loves how Murphy has shot these photos, bringing out the simplicity of the dwellings but also showing us how they are people’s homes, not shelters to the homeless. These homes and this way of life have been chosen and this makes us look upon them with admiration and a slight feeling of jealousy, as there are many times when living on a remote hill in a wackily furnished caravan would be preferable to the rush of 21st century life.