Some shots from an enjoyable day documenting life at the Bruderhof community in Robertsbridge. I've been fascinated by these people since I first met them 2 years ago taking pictures for their furniture catalogue. There are 300 people living in a christian commune in beautiful East Sussex countryside. They share the income from their nursery school furniture business and pool all their talents concentrating on looking after each other in a group where no-one is richer or poorer than anyone else.
The Bruderhof, german for "place of brothers" were founded in 1920 with their roots in european baptist traditions and similarities to anabaptist groups like the Hutterites and Amish. They believe that communal living is the best way to serve Christ and it seams that their way of pooling resources and living together without property builds mutual trust with an emphasis on family and looking after each other. This I noticed particularly in the respect given to their older members who have roles in the business even in very old age and also with the children who spend much of their time outside and learning woodcrafts.
What is immediately striking is the way they dress, particularly the women who wear headscarves and long home-made dresses which adds to the other-worldly old-fashioned feel of the place. The women say that this gives them freedom from fashion and comparisons with each other..
I'm not religious but my take-away from the day was how genuine and happy these people are, they really seem to have hit on a special way of living. They continue to intrigue me and I'm grateful for being invited in.