Fair Isle, the UK’s Most Remote Inhabited Island

2020-05-30 – Feature

Community, Inhabitants, UK

The Sea is Land's Edge by Giulia Savorelli was made on Fair Isle, the UK’s most remote inhabited island, as part of an ongoing project documenting daily life in self sufficient communities.

Fair Isle sits halfway between Shetland and Orkney Islands (Northern Scotland), a tiny spec on the map where the North Sea and Atlantic meet in violent tidal clashes, so much so that the island has famously claimed many a shipwrecks. Although a very prestigious tourist destination for bird watchers and pharologists, the island hosts one restaurant which lies within the famous bird observatory. There are officially no pubs or bars on the island and there is one shop and one school which caters for the total population of 55. Last year was the first year the island boasted 24 hour power, completely green energy campaigned for and obtained by its residents.

The series was born from Savorelli’s fascination with island life, spending many years visiting the volcanic island of Filicudi, in a small archipelago North of Sicily. The obsession came with the initial beauty found in remote islands; the inevitable challenges, involved with life in such geographical isolation. The images portray the intimate relationship between the island and its inhabitants with a mix of delicate portraits and landscapes which capture tranquillity on both accounts. 

“On the island it is hard not to marvel at the total dominance of natural elements, their power and indifference humbling. These stark and stunning landscapes contrast with the warmth and welcome of their inhabitants: 55 permanent residents living with a unique environmental consciousness, community strength and relationship with the sea. In many ways it felt like a parallel world, pure and uncontaminated by the distractions of modern life, but also a better, very achievable world that people had taken it upon themselves to protect and engage with. The sense of solidarity and community are just as strong as that of solitude and escape.”

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