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Humans are now more connected than ever through social media and the internet, yet the overwhelming feeling is not of closeness but of detachment. In a world filled with technology and constant news cycles, nature and the sense of ‘oneness’ have taken a backseat. Hidden from sight, however, a counter-culture movement provides the opportunity to take the journey back into nature and to experience a true sense of community. Rainbow Gatherings have been taking place across the world since the 1970s, allowing smaller or larger groups of humans to become one with nature and to live like a family for a week or up to a month at a time.

Canadian photographer Benoit Paillé experienced his first Rainbow Gathering as he traveled through Québec with his then girlfriend. For him, like for many others, it became a life-changing moment as he became interested in photography during the first few gatherings he attended. The magical and sacred nature of the gatherings meant that photography was frowned upon, but Benoit Paillé documented his experiences with the utmost respect, creating an accurate, powerful and raw portrait of the Rainbow Gatherings while also revealing the strong sense of unity connecting the participants. If you want to see more of the photographer’s work, including photo series taken in various places around the world, check out his Instagram page. Images courtesy of Benoit Paillé.

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