Valentina Riccardi – No Rent

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Valentina Riccardi


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Most of my work happens in Ibiza, Spain, where I decided to live a few years ago to merge and integrate in a community and discover a way of living that was far from what I knew, having grown in a big city, but very close to what I have always aspired to. I didn’t realize that this inspiration would eventually become a huge part of my photographic practice, a photographic story. I started to photograph the people I lived with, to document  the life there. Over time, this became an intimate and personal project.

Ibiza is an island in the Mediterranean Sea where the local people and the hippies merged at the end of the 60’s. At that time, Ibiza became one of the popular places to live “freedom”. What intrigued me is the fact that in the midst of all the corruption (drug dealing, partying and real estate dealing), you can still find people who want to live outside society, self-sufficient, living their lives in a humble way and pursuing other values rather than materialism, emphasizing values like sense of community and harmony with nature and themselves.

Several houses on the island are inhabited by squatters who pay no rent. And if most of the time they are allowed to live there, they don’t have the security you get if the house was private. Most of those houses (sometimes hotels) are ruins that are renovated and inhabited quite normally. I would like to show how those places are transformed and take cared for, show the way the space is used, the way they live in their community, ecologically and very creatively.

No rent, no power, no faucets, and all this by choice. Water comes from a well, the washing machine runs with a pedal mechanism, power is a gift from the sun. Not far from drunken British tourists and disco boys and girls full of Ecstasy, this is a totally different world. It’s Pink Floyd 40 years later, but with a different dream: no more utopia, just life, essential life.

I wish to document people and places that represent this lifestyle and would like to show this minority that decided to leave the struggle of the city, to get closer to the nature.



I was born in Brussels from a Belgo-Italian family in 1987.  I lived in Spain for several years before moving to NY to study at the International Center of Photography. I started to photograph what surrounded me, work with images in familiar situations and document the everyday life.

I am based in Ibiza now, where I plan to pursue this photographic essay. Being my first long term project I plan to dedicate myself fully in this passion, create images. I consider this an amazing journey and know there will be more, because life is a perpetual movement.


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Valentina Riccardi

45 Responses to “Valentina Riccardi – No Rent”

  • This is just great, thank you!

  • Beautiful. You got really close. It’s light, it’s warm, it’s real. I like it a lot – congratulations.

  • I really enjoyed this one…nice pace and rhythm. I also liked the larger format in this slideshow.

  • Fresh!! Mediterranean !! Like good olive oil and green see through crystal clear water!!
    Fresh.. Loved the photography here… I’m so exposed to nudity and nudist beaches in Greece since I was a kid so the “explicit” warning sounds funny to me..(I know I know.. Just the censorship laws over here etc..
    Anyway that was a nostalgic glimpse in my early youth around the Greek islands..
    Anyone that visited the Greek islands or even
    Ibiza at least once they know what I mean.. Like Rio.. Freedom of expression to the fullest etc..
    I’m also impressed that the “hippie movement” never died and always inspires even to that day!
    Nice work!

  • This is exceptional work. Wonderful, thoughtful and personal narrative that strikes all the right chords.

  • Simply lovely….
    the shots of mothers nursing their babies are truly beautiful..
    as it should be…
    here in the USA, most mothers hide under blankets if they are nursing…..
    I love the sense of joy, simplicity and community in this work…

  • Life, love and liberty. This is a wonderful, heart felt body of work. Thank you.

  • Though infrequently credited as such, juggling is the true universal language.

  • Lovely pictures, and a lovely fantasy of life you have created here.

    I guess those early hippies must not have hung on, as there is not a single older person pictured, not even middle-aged, not even older-young.

    The photos of all these young people, who appear to live free of all strive, envy, greed… are wonderful – and I agree about the breast feeding photos.

    And the photo of the little girl… #6. Magnificent!

  • My warmest congratulations on being published here. All the praise is well deserved. These are warm, inviting and incredibly intimate. Number 22 stopped my in my tracks. Wonderful! I’m going to have to go through these again, and again, and again.

    Big smiles.

  • Valentine,

    wonderful, beautiful… i love it!

    sensitive and evocative,

    so much reminds me of my years spent in India… the sense of community, different set of values, elastic time… 2nd daughter Yali was born in India and Uma was from 2 until 6 years old – so i really get this… gives me itchy feet, a warm heart feeling and a big smile – surely signs of a well executed project!

    very happy to see this work and to read about your passion. i look forward to more…

    well done and thank you!

  • Love the portraits, love the medium format look, congratulations Valentina, you’ve captured the feeling perfectly.

    Panos, yes, these are all idealistic young people, but there are still older people who are still hippies. My wife Martha was part of a sixties-early seventies invasion of Lasqueti Island here on the BC coast. Off the grid, back to the land still lives, many of those folks are still there raising second and even third generation hippy kids.

    As idyllic as such a life appears, it is hard work to actually do it for real. Otherwise, it is just being idle, playing at being “poor”, and taking advantage of the surplus and the safety net that modern society affords. It is a luxury available only to those of us who live surrounded by plenty, and plenty of tax-payers who get up and go to work every day. Try it in central Africa or anywhere in the third world and see how long you would last.

  • Beautiful. Lyrical. Lovely warm, round light.

    And I’m in love with the young lady in #6.

  • Lovely, beautiful poetry like images. I’ve been pretty well turned off by color images lately and I only manage to see and feel in BW, but this essay is different it’s turned into the exception. It’s managed to capture the strange soul of Ibiza and sometimes part of the other Balearics islands, where things and time stand still, everything is safe and peaceful. The slow summer days full of smiles, the cicadas singing their eternal wooing song as one spends afternoons under the thickest deep blue sky at pine tree surrounded hidden beaches. Standing still at the edge of cliffs and roadsides watching always another full red sky beckon the easy Mediterranean night, realizing somehow you are a prisoner and these islands somehow will never let you go.
    I have to agree with Gordon on all the points he’s raised on the hippy movement, I know many hippies here in Mallorca although I know there are far more prominent in the partly secluded island of Ibiza. But all the hippies near me and some are close friends who ‘play’ this life all come from very well heeled familys and so the risks are slightly lighter :)

  • Gordon, Paul…

    i know what your saying and whilst i appreciate your sentiment i think it’s very much a generalisation. i know plenty of travelers, hippies, alternative lifestyles etc. and whilst some do come from comfortable backgrounds etc.etc. many don’t. many work hard, very hard to maintain the dream… growing their own food, raising livestock, bartering for goods and services, living frugally, even building there own houses etc…

    some friends in India go back and forth and work every summer in festivals and markets in Europe, selling clothes, jewelery and other merchandise, busking, giving massages, teaching yoga, tattooing… they believe totally in a lifestyle outside the system, mostly off the grid… and they don’t sponge off the welfare state (UK) nor rich parents… (plenty of them are older too, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s…)

    sorry guys, it’s not my intention to start a quarrel and i have the utmost respect for you both but i felt i should say this… cheers and happy 2012!!

  • and the poor Indians work their arses off to make the stuff sold in Europe via inflated prices.

  • Yea we have a heap of the stuff sold in our markets on oz as well.

  • selling clothes, jewelery and other merchandise, busking, giving massages, teaching yoga, tattooing………… nothing like a economy based on trinkets

  • the indians i know that make good quality stuff, sell in bulk every year and are very happy and not so poor… the indians you’re talking about imants are exploited by other indians who then sell to unwitting tourists with big profit margins… but i know you know that already and i know you are smiling… see you in may imants : ))

  • No I am not talking about just them Sam and the stuff is sold with huge profits, if they knew what the margin was they would not be so happy. Happens to Indonesia and all the South East Asian countries, lived there long enough to see the low level exploitation

  • horses for courses… there is a lot of diversity within the indian economy… but the folks i’m talking about are well aware of euro prices and have long term friendships with their clients… now i know you well enough that if i’m not careful this will go back and forth for a long time and we shouldn’t detract from the essay any further, so i’m off for a swim in the dam. stinking hot today over here in WA. have a good one imants

  • Tassie is mild and there is no need for rose coloured glasses ……….nice to hear that some European leaders have figured that their nations are living beyond their means

  • Sam…

    Yes you’re quite right and generalizing is an awful point of view. I have met many true hippies like you’ve mentioned who try their very best to live out of the system and I actually envy their stance more and more everyday that goes by as I live in this asshole called Europe :)!! I’d love to make your decision like you and your wife did and leave Europe forever but alas my wife has no intention of leading the life I dream of or leaving her beloved family here in Spain. But the local hippies I know round here may not be living off their well heeled families right now but they do have the comfy thought in their mind that mum and dad have a couple of lovely fincas sitting idle which they will inherent once mum and daddy kick the bucket. As you’ve mentioned horses for courses, I know a woman who brings a container full of Indian clothes and trinkets from India by, sea for the very a “cheap” 60,000 euros and then sells it for the three times the price and I don’t know but I do find it a little unfair on the locals over in India. Then there is a local shop who works in a similar way but a whole load of the proceeds find their way back in India to help the local villages and schools. So as you quite rightly said it all depends on the morals and honesty of those involved.

  • Imants…

    Are you sure European leaders have figured out or even care that Europe is living beyond it’s means :))??!!
    Not that it matters one bloody bit, all European leaders are obstinately set on keeping the Euro alive whatever the financial sacrifice the public have to endure.

  • The only objection I have to this way of living is that if we all led a life so free and healthy I’m sure the psychopaths throughout the world would cause havoc among all the peaceful dwellers. The system has too many downfalls no doubt but it’s the only concept which has in someway made us “safe”.
    I can sort of imagine a Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” situation…

  • If everyone lived the carefree hippy life, who would make these cool cameras we spend a fortune on to go out and shoot photos of folks living the carefree hippy life?

  • No worries Jim. Most people are congenitally incapable of leading a carefree happy life. Your camera fix is secure, as is your supply of photo essays of which to disapprove. Personally, I enjoy that kind of lifestyle but find little interest in the photographs. Nothing wrong with them, probably just a case of same old same old on my part, a condition of which many will be immune, so it’s as valid a subject as any.

  • Sam, Paul
    Sorry to generalise.
    I have many close “hippy” friends, including my hippy wife Martha, who lived the dream for more than twenty years, living off the grid, growing her own food, slaughtering her own animals, taking part in anti logging protests. Many are very hard working, and very committed to the alternate lifestyle. Others are un-ashamedly committed to working as little as possible.
    I have huge respect and admiration for the whole concept and mind set, although I often smile at the naive assumptions people have about such a life.
    Is such a life style actually possible without the external engine of a lively economy beside it? Well, just in the little island microcosm of hippiedom that I am familiar with (and a part of), there are about 300 permanent residents. There is a government ferry that services the island, with heavily subsidised fares. You don’t want to know how much diesel fuel that ferry burns on a single round trip {sometimes with more crew aboard than passengers}. there is a road system maintained at government expense, a school, with two teachers, and support staff including bus drivers and custodians even though there are only just over a dozen students. A health nurse who comes over once a week. Then of course there is all the other govt infrasturcture on the mainland, health care, roads etc etc. Obviously, the “simple living” island residents, few of whom pay taxes, are living their lifestyle at the expense of those who go to work every day and pay their taxes.

    I’m not complaining about it, just pointing out the illusion.

  • If everyone lived the carefree hippy life, who would make these cool cameras
    Jim, dont worry..the Chinese will do it anyways…and all big corporations enslave young kids in the 3rd world to work in those corporate factories for $5 a day…or to make those gorgeous 5D’s and D4x’s etc…for 3cents per hour etc..
    The corporations already know that the “hippies” are not that desperate to do it…so they recruiting “slaves”=workers (any way u wanna call it) by the millions!
    so we can buy this $10 Wal Mart sexy button shirt that says Polo, forgetting that the 10 year old kid that had only 5 minutes to finish it , or else….(use your imagination)
    Ahhh its another great day for the big corporations out there!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    speaking of china and iphones, check mass hysteria here:

  • what was the last time u saw a great camera “born” in Ibiza? or Topanga California? or Woodstock?
    he he…people there have more important things to do, like live the good/relaxed life (hippies or not)and their best to avoid slaVORY….unlike the chinese “hippies”…why hide behind a camera while u can actually “live that moment” instead of simply “recording” it for later?????
    why not live the “NOW”??? why only invest in the “Later”???
    see the paradox? no we didnt have fun that night on my cousin’s was boring and we all wanted to live early..but months later, all is left was a smiling photo that everyone looked happy and smiley like they won the lotto or something…that photo lied…whats the point to avoid the “now”???
    Maybe those hippies know a thing or two more than the rest of us that judge them…only time can tell!

  • Ahh, Gordon.. there are plenty of weathly, help me say WEALTHY!! people out there, a lot of them sitting in the government or other key positions, not paying taxes because their affaris are located in some fiscal paradise.. evading much more than a bunch of hippies could.. perhaps that doesn’t happen in Canada (where my hippy brother lives, btw, paying taxes, btw), but for sure it does happen in Italy.

  • oh yea…lets not talk about tax evasion of politicians stealing money from donations to pay their mistresses…

  • AKAKY: You know, I hate to be cynical-

    AKAKY IRL: No you don’t.

    AKAKY: Shut up, nobody asked you.

    AKAKY IRL: Okay.

    AKAKY: Okay? That’s it? You’re not going to argue?

    AKAKY IRL: Nope. I am enjoying my few moments out of the house and I’m not going to spend them arguing with you.

    AKAKY: That’s nice.

    AKAKY IRL: Thank you. Now you can go back to lying through your teeth.

    AKAKY: Anyway, I hate to be cynical, but this lifestyle reminds me of something a rich supporter of Mahatma Gandhi once said about that great man: ” It takes a lot of money to keep the Mahatma living in poverty.” The photographs are great, though.

  • Eva, no argument there from me. That leaves just regular working folks to pay the bill.

  • It is all a bit like fare evasion on the local bus ……..

  • the working folk pay for all

  • Now back to those glass beads can I trade them for a photograph as the greengrocer doesn’t accept beads for cabbages

  • Akaky – Glad to see you feeling healthy enough to get out and make cynical statements that you hate to make.

  • Ah well, we pay a lot more for a lot worse.

  • Thanks for this Valentina.

    Wow, I loved this project… it seems you have immersed yourself in your work, right up to your neck.
    Please don’t pull yourself out yet.. let yourself go, I say!

    I hope this work finds the audience it deserves.


  • Valentina,

    brilliant and moving work! thanks for sharing.


  • As far as the squatters …….ah you are only young once maybe with a bit of luck you will be able to claim the properties as their own

  • Nicely shot but too long for me.

    Is good to see some MF work on here too. Some really gorgeous images. But i think this story could have been told with half of them gone.

  • An aspect of Ibiza I did not know: interesting idea for an essay and I would like to congratulate Valentina for it. I like the square format in the photos. But what I find interesting is the discussion that these photos have made happens, this is the power of photography, at least here on Burn. Living in Italy I must sadly agree with Eva about taxes …

  • A wonderful essay. Very intimate and sensual. I really like it. Great work, Valentina.

    Great discussion on here, too. I very much agree with Gordon, but I also find the other viewpoints interesting. In a way the controversy only strengthens the essay – forces you to think, as well as sense and feel.

    I once read that before agriculture, in ancient hunter/gather societies, they spent only four hours of the day working, and spent the rest of the time playing, if you will. They also lived in communities similar to this, so in a sense these people are going back to their evolutionary roots. Which I find interesting.

    Of course the hard work and structure of modern societies affords many luxuries the ancient ones did not have, such as the already mentioned digital cameras, or on a more serious note, medicine and a more stable food supply. But clearly we lost something in the process – more I think, than we realize.

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