Photographer Emil Hartvig is based in Copenhagen, but recently he came to the United States and traveled through the Midwest to photograph the Prepper movement. Preppers subscribe to an extreme kind of disaster preparedness. They’re not setting aside a few bottles of water or a flashlight in case the power goes out. Preppers are preparing for the end of the world as we know it. Whether its economic collapse, civil unrest, or a biological or nuclear attack, the Prepper movement is all about having the means to be self sufficient and protect yourself when the shit hits the fan.
For his project, Emil visited Preppers who have built bunkers, stockpiled weapons and food, and he even met a man in Kansas who lives underground in a decommissioned nuclear missile silo.
As extreme as this may sound, Emil learned that Preppers are not just a fringe group of rogue survivalists. Over the course of the Great Recession the movement has been gaining steam and and includes many families and young people. In a lot of ways Preppers have broken through to the mainstream culture. Preppers were recently featured on the Today Show, and they even have their own reality show called Doomsday Bunkers.
Emil’s ongoing photo project about the Prepper Movement is called The End of Times. I recently spoke with him about some of the Preppers he photographed, the movement’s politics, and why Emil keeps coming back to the United States to take photos.
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