French photojournalist Laetitia Vancon has been visiting communities in the Outer Hebridean Isles since January 2016, seeking to understand how the islands' young people relate to their remote home, and to the rest of the world.
The project, called At the End of the Day, features adults aged 18 to 35, some of whom have settled permanently in the place of their birth, and others who are seeking to leave for new work and social opportunities.
Vancon explains: “At the age of 18, the lack of opportunities leave these youths facing a fork in the road: What now? Which direction to take? What is left to hang on to? Are these isles really the paradise we perceive them to be? Or rather, an escape from the dissatisfying, overdeveloped, uprooted, and unanchored reality of the modern world?
“In a world which is becoming increasingly globalised, uniform, and dematerialised, the isles, in their sincerity, simplicity, and authenticity, represent in the collective unconscious, a peace haven ... In these isles one finds a well preserved microcosm, where the experience of isolation has a magnifying effect on these exceptional – albeit fragile – spaces.”
Vancon's bold and intimate photos show the stark Hebridean mountains, moors, and shorelines, and the young people who inhabit them, including an aspiring actor, a mental health nurse seeking training in mainland Scotland, and a shepherd who feels the rest of the world is detached from common sense.
Danielle MacGillivray, 26, with her son Peter, 4
Kevin, 35, a fisherman on the Isle of Lewis
Connor and Rowan, 18
Niall and Callum, aged 24
Twin brothers James and Kevin Anderson, 35
Scott MacRury, 28, postman, tweed weaver, and shepherd
Holly Pearson, 18
Holly and Calumm
Keith MacDonald, 28
Connor Clarke, 18
Scott Matheson, 25, a game keeper on the island of South Uist
Matt Tucker is the UK Picture Editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.
Contact Matthew Tucker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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