Famend photojournalist Ed Gold publishes new Constructive Futures journal
For the documentary photographer Ed Gold, however, his art is his comprehensive way of life.
Ed, 51, has given up any appearance of normal life as part of his work to document the lives of people on the fringes of society.
And he himself has lived off-grid for 20 years, living on the back of a motorcycle and in a tent set up over the back roads of North Essex.
His situation in life enables him to continue to lead the life of an explorer, to travel the globe, meet amazing people and tell their stories – which otherwise would go unheard.
Ed’s exploits are documented in his magazine, Positive Futures, and after a successful crowdfunding campaign, the latest issue has just been released.
Ed said, “The magazine is about people who are off-grid and alternative living.
“It’s about taking care of yourself, others and the planet. It’s green, it’s about renewable energies, sustainability and shows independence and character.
“Most of the people who have seen it say that it is not like your regular magazines that have a nifty design but empty content.
“People notice that it is attractive because the text comes straight from the person’s own thoughts and there are no biased thoughts and theories of the author.”
Ed’s quest to document those on the fringes of normal society makes perfect sense – he’s one himself, after all.
Many would have given up on their artistic dreams for a more comfortable and traditionally acceptable lifestyle, but Ed hasn’t wavered since writing his first book on positive futures 15 years ago.
- Off-Grid – Michael Zair, a resident of Tinker’s Bubble
Ed said, “It’s been a long way and the publishing doesn’t happen overnight
“I have been doing my own printed publications since 2005 with the very first Positive Futures art book.
“I will speculatively initiate my own projects myself, and media like BBC Online will use them regularly. Regardless of whether they are published by the news media or not, I will always produce a book to complete the job.
“I like to work by doing research, socializing, traveling to the place and sometimes embedding myself in people or communities for up to three years.”
It’s by no means an easy life, but it’s not an easy life that Ed strives for.
His work has been celebrated all over the world. He has shown various exhibitions of his work, most recently in 2017 on the Firstsite.
His work is uncompromising and he firmly believes that he won’t change just for a warm bed and a hot shower.
- Frozen – Ed met David and Sky Atchley in Alaska
Ed said, “I have not been able to make enough money doing my job as photojournalism has become so devalued with the rise of social media.
“Since I won’t jeopardize my job and earn money to pay for an apartment, I use a tent every day all year round. This means that I can continue to document and travel anytime and anywhere.
“I sacrificed the potential for a normal life with a regular job, family, house and all of those things for a life of adventure and freedom.
“There are many deeply rooted reasons why I photograph and interview the people I make.
“Society is changing very quickly and not for the better in this post-industrial age.”
This mantra led Ed to explore some of the most cut off communities in the world.
He has documented the life of the Iñupiat in Alaska, lived in Patagonia for three years and even followed Colchester’s 2 Para during a tour of Afghanistan.
Ed rode a motorcycle to the most remote Aboriginal community in Australia in the Gibson Desert and documented the Athabsacans on a First Nation reservation in Canada.
- Remote – Theo, who lives in a cave in the Algarve
His work has been featured on the BBC many times, be it a squat visit or a trip to explore the communities that are only accessible by boat in Scotland.
Its latest release tells the stories of a handful of characters, including the Atchleys, Alaska’s most remote family, Theo, a cave dweller in the Algarve, and Mario Morris, a transformation leader and magician.
It also includes stories of “horse cuddling,” a tiny builder’s trials, and Ed’s time with a true nautical adventurer.
Not all of the stories come from distant parts of the world. Ed spent some time in Somerset with Tinker’s Bubble, a small forest community that uses environmentally friendly methods to cultivate the land without fossil fuels.
All the stories have one thing in common: they focus on the people who lead this amazing life.
The magazine tells their stories in their own words in a way only someone like Ed could.
“My work is about giving everyday people a voice so that they can hear their story directly without prejudice or angles,” he said.
“I want my diary to report from my point of view as a viewer, but most importantly, respondents provide their own report to authenticate what their story is about.
“For the reader, the most important aspect is to be able to imagine what the story is about and to be able to understand it first hand, directly from the participants’ own ideas and experiences.
“My work is not only intended for printing, but also anthropological. I want to question the western ideology that people around them are an exception.
“Right now is a turning point in humanity where we have to make better individual decisions for our future and not have to rely on governing bodies.”
He added, “If you care about yourself, the people around you and the future well-being of the planet, Positive Futures is for you.”
Positive future can be purchased at https://store.magalleria.co.uk/products/positive-futures. All profits go towards printing the second edition.
The magazine is available in at least 40 stores across the UK, including The Photographer’s Gallery and Tate Modern in London.
To find out more about Ed or his work, visit www.edgold.co.uk.