NAOMI WONDERS


NEW-AGE TRAVELERS: AN AUTONOMOUS GEOGRAPHY

Naomi Wonders Travelers

Autonomous Geography ‘the creation of spaces in which people can attempt to enact their lives in opposition to the dominant, capitalist culture (Jenny Pickerill and Paul Chatterton, 2006), aims to portray the sometimes unheard of community of New Age Travelers, focusing on one intimate New Age Travelling Family based in Dorset, UK. New Age Travelers live unlike most people in the UK, by going against the mainstream culture of settling down. This is sometimes by choice, but at other times is due to homelessness or poverty. ‘Ultimately, the provision of sites for those who wish to live this way represents an economical solution to the current housing crisis and, furthermore, an experiment in alternative geographies from which much could be learnt’ (Phillips, 2008). The project intends to reflect a truthful documentation of the traveler lifestyle, providing a more encouraging and accurate account of the movement than previously reported.

Wonders has used her past experience as a New Age Traveler to its advantage by observing the photographer-subject relationship, investigating how access and trust impacts upon shooting.  Wonders’ has taken strong participation in the project, subverting from the common ‘fly-on-the-wall’ approach to documentary photography. In order to give the New Age Traveler’s agency, participation and subject relationship have been a key element to the project ‘Participation is as important as a project: it re-humanizes a society rendered numb and fragmented by the repressive instrumentality of capitalist production’ (Bishop, 2001).