The 1960’s is remembered as a lightning-rod decade for revolutionary change. But when some couldn’t find peace in the larger framework of society, they broke off from the herd to build a better life, with their own rules and ideals.
One such landing point for these ideals was a place called Taylor Camp. Named after the land’s owner, Howard Taylor (brother of actress, Elizabeth Taylor), who invited a group of nomadic hippies to live on his land with him, the camp had the quality of paradise.
Sitting ocean-front in Hawaii, Taylor Camp was the manifestation of thirteen hippies, who sought refuge from the violence and turmoil of the American Heartland, and decided to establish a society diametrically opposite from the one they had just left. No rules governed Taylor Camp. Local politics was a nonstarter; most didn’t even wear clothes.
Their plan wasn’t necessarily concrete: they just sought out the most remote piece of land they could find in Hawaii and set up wooden tree-houses and hand-built cabins to live out of. If they wanted food, they would often just scavenge or fish. For the most part, they just smoked weed and chilled. For the residents of Taylor Camp, it was idyllic.
Word spread of the liberating way of life at Taylor Camp, and people started flocking to the island utopia. Soon there were somewhere in the range of 120 residents; all determined to live out the hippy Pura Vida that most in New York and California could only dream of. One photographer, John Wehrheim, documented the experiment in a 1970 photo-book simply entitled “Taylor Camp.”
In 1977, unfortunately, Taylor Camp was finally shut down by the government, which was establishing a State Park on the land. But Wehrheim’s ethereal photos live on, captivating viewers with the promise of Utopia.