Tierra Solida: Aloha Bonser-Shaw Photographs an Alternative Community Living Off-Grid in Andalucia
Words and Photographs by Aloha Bonser-Shaw
An Article published in The Earth Issue 002: IMPACT
British photographer Aloha Bonser-Shaw was born under an almond tree in the South of Spain, next to the tipi where her parents were living. Here, in an alternative community called Beneficio, travelers gathered from around the world seeking a spiritual alternative to modern society and a communal lifestyle carved out in harmony with nature.
“I had a very idyllic early childhood, with many other children to play with in nature, picking wild fruits and foods, with lots of attention from the adults and a supportive community.”
Bonser-Shaw’s parents moved away from Spain when she was two, but years later (in her third year studying at the University of Brighton) she found herself drawn to the mysterious place from her past.
“I had none of my own memories of Benefdicio, but my parent’s romantic stories of living beneath a canvas roof evoked an idealised description of what I might find. I had imagined bathing in small rivers, eating almonds, oranges and fruits from the trees that grew upon the mountains. I imagined the small paths we would climb to get to villages nearby, the communal meals and songs shared around fires in the evenings.”