"There is something magical about the rural communities of Romania. There is an indescribable feeling of warmth from the people. They live a simple life, show respect for nature & have a deep, humbling faith.

It is a soul cleansing experience to visit them."

Daryl & Judy Ford, A Path to the Past Exhibition, 2022.

This project stems from personal disillusionment with Western values. In 1997, seeking an alternative lifestyle and wanting to live more sustainably, Daryl and Judy moved to a farming community in Devon in the UK. They ran a small blacksmithing business on agricultural land and raised their two daughters. 

The rural dream turned into a nightmare when the actions of a large company left them homeless. They rebuilt their home and business, but life was difficult, and Judy found it particularly tough. Then, in 2015, Judy rediscovered her passion for photography and found a path to fulfilment. 

The Path to the Past project started in 2019 when Daryl and Judy travelled to Romania to photograph remote peasant communities. They hoped to find a culture that had

escaped the influence of Western values. They found that life in the communities was challenging, but they did discover the sustainable, simple lifestyle they found so elusive in the UK. The culture was deeply connected with farming, craftsmanship and tradition and underpinned by faith and respect for nature. 

Inspired by the wisdom embedded in the culture and the remarkable strength of the people, Daryl and Judy committed to a long-term project to create a record for future generations. So far, they have made six trips over four years, travelling thousands of kilometres by car and foot to create an extensive archive of images, video and audio recordings. Their work has been exhibited in the house of HM King Charles III in Viscri, Transylvania and at the ASTRA Museum in Sibiu, Transylvania.