FOR many people art is a past time, a hobby or a diversion from day to day life.

But for documentary photographer Ed Gold his art is his all encompassing way of life.

Ed, 51, has forgone all semblance of a 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 the past 20 years, living off the back of a motorbike and inside a tent, pitched across the backroads of north Essex.

His living situation allows him to continue to live the life of an explorer, travelling across the globe meeting amazing people, telling 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 edition has just been published.

Ed said: “The magazine is about people living off-grid and alternatively.

“It’s about being mindful of yourself, others and the planet. It’s green, about renewables, sustainability, and displays self-reliance and character.

“Most people who have seen it say it isn’t like your regular magazines which have a sophisticated design but vacuous content.

“People remark that it’s appeal is because the text comes straight from the person’s own thoughts and there is no biased pontificating and theorizing by the author.”

Ed’s drive to document those on the fringes of normal society makes total sense - he is 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 he created his first Positive Futures book 15-years-ago.


  • Off-grid - Michael Zair a resident of Tinker’s Bubble

Ed said: “It’s been a long haul and publishing doesn’t happen overnight

“I’ve been making my own printed publications since 2005, with the very first Positive Futures art book.

“I’ll self-initiate my own projects on a speculative basis, and media like BBC Online will regularly use it, but whether they are published by news media or not, I will always produce a book to complete the work.

“I like to work by researching, making contacts, travelling to the location and embedding myself with people or communities, sometimes for up to three years.”

It is by no means an easy life, but it isn’t an easy life Ed is after.

His work has come to be celebrated across the globe, he’s held various exhibitions of his work, including most recently at Firstsite in 2017.

His work is uncompromising and he is adamant he won’t change just for the sake of a warm bed and a hot shower.


  • Frozen - Ed met David and Sky Atchley in Alaska

Ed said: “It hasn’t been possible for me to earn enough money from my work as photojournalism has been so devalued due to the rise in social media.

“Since I won’t compromise my work and earn money for the sake of paying for a place to live, I use a tent every day, all year round and this allows me to continue documenting and means I can travel anywhere, at any time.

“I’ve sacrificed the potential for a normal life, with a regular job, a family, a house and all of those trappings, for a life of adventure and freedom.

“There are many deep-seated reasons why I photograph and interview the people I do.

“Society is changing very fast in this post-industrial era and not for the better.”

This mantra has led Ed to explore some of the most cut off communities in the world.

He’s documented the lives of the Iñupiat people in Alaska, spent three years living in Patagonia and even followed Colchester’s 2 Para during a tour of Afghanistan.

Ed has motorcycled out to Australia’s remotest Aboriginal community in the Gibson Desert and documented Athabsacan people at a First Nation Reservation in Canada.


  • Remote - Theo who lives in a cave in the Algarve

His work has featured on the BBC many times, whether a visit to a squat or a trip to explore the communities only accessible by boat in Scotland.

His latest publication tells the stories of a handful of characters, like the Atchleys, Alaska’s Most Remote Family, Theo, a cave dweller in the Algarve, and Mario Morris, a transformational guide and magician.

It also features stories of “horse snigging”, the trials of a tiny home builder and features Ed’s time spent with a true nautical adventurer.

The stories aren’t all from far flung corners of the globe, Ed spent time at Tinker’s Bubble, a small woodland community which uses environmentally sound methods of working the land without fossil fuels, in Somerset.

All the stories have one thing in common - they’re focused around the people who live these amazing lives.

The magazine tells their stories in their own words in a way only someone like Ed could.

“My work is about giving the everyday person a voice, to hear their story directly with no bias or angle,” he said.

“My journal is to give an account from my perspective as the viewer, but it’s most important interviewee’s provide their own account to authenticate what their story is about.

“It’s the most important aspect for the reader, to be able to visualize what the story is about and to be able to understand it first hand, direct from the subjects own ideas and experiences.

“My work isn’t just for print, it’s anthropological and I want to challenge the western ideology that humans are an exception in their surroundings.

“Right now is a turning point in humanity when we must make better decisions individually for our futures and not rely on governing bodies.”

He added: “If you care about yourself, those around you and the planet’s future wellbeing then Positive Futures is for you.”

Positive Future can be purchased at and all profits will go into printing the second issue.

The magazine is for sale in at least 40 stores around Britain, including The Photographer’s Gallery and Tate Modern in London.

To find out more about Ed or his work, visit