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In a New Body of Work, Lucas Foglia Investigates What Nature Means To Human Beings, Even As Nature Disappears

Posted by on May 1, 2018 | Photographer Interviews

Lucas Foglia began his most recent series, “Human Nature,” after Hurricane Sandy flooded the fields on the farm where he grew up, 30 miles east of New York City. On the news, scientists attributed the severity of the storm to the impact of climate change caused by human activity.

“I realized that if humans are changing the weather, then there is no place on Earth unaltered by people,” Foglia says in a statement about the work.

Foglia began photographing cities, farms, forests, oceans, ice fields and deserts, as well as scientists investigating the impact of time spent outdoors, in the wilderness, on human brains, as a means of investigating what nature means to humans even as we destroy it.

“Nature used to mean the Earth besides humans and human creations,” Foglia mused. “But if there is no place on Earth unaltered by people, then nature no longer exists. At the same time, research suggests that time in wild places is integral to our health and happiness.”

Below is a selection of images from “Human Nature.” All images © Lucas Foglia.

For more information about the series, visit Foglia’s website. The series is also available in Human Nature, a book recently published by Nazraeli Press. The first US museum exhibition of Foglia’s work will open at Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago on July 19.


Matt Swinging between Trees, Lost Coast, California 2015

Rachel Mud Bathing, Virginia 2009. Rachel immerses herself in the communal mud pit at the Twin Oaks Communities Conference in Louisa, Virginia. People from around the world come to the conference to talk about eco-villages, cooperative housing, and how to live closer to nature.

Kate in an EEG Study of Cognition in the Wild, Strayer Lab, University of Utah, Utah 2015

Esme Swimming, Parkroyal on Pickering, Singapore 2014. The Parkroyal on Pickering contains over 15,000 square meters of greenery, amounting to twice its land area. In Singapore, 100 percent of the population is urban. The Singapore Green Plan promotes conservation of the nation’s natural resources and the use of green technology to conserve the environment. ‘Wild’ nature is being reincorporated into the city.

Troy Holding a Guinea Fowl Chick, GreenHouse Program, Rikers Island Jail Complex, New York 2014. Rikers Island is New York City’s main jail complex. There are three organic gardens run by the Horticultural Society of New York, where prisoners tend flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Riots, lockdowns, beatings, and solitary confinement occur in the nearby buildings.

Nate Clearcutting a Forest Planted 60 Years Earlier, Oregon 2014

Wildfire, California 2015

Ice to Protect Orange Trees from the Cold, California 2015.   Farmers still use ice, the best technology available, to protect orange trees from cold winter temperatures in the Central Valley of California.

Dave and Jenny, Swimsuit Shoot on an Abandoned Farm, California 2014. After years of drought, many farms in California were abandoned or left fallow. Even now with the rains returning, farmers fight for water rights. Some farmers make extra money renting their land as a backdrop.

Madaya, Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah 2014

Charles Looking at the Sun, Space Weather Prediction Center, Colorado 2016. If a major eruption happens on the sun, the solar storm can send electromagnetic radiation and charged particle radiation into our atmosphere.

Elk at the Game and Fish Department, Wyoming 2010. In order to catch people hunting off season, rangers at the Wyoming Game and Fish Department office in Pinedale bring an elk taxidermy into the wild and wait for someone to shoot it.

Icebergs from the Gilkey Glacier, Alaska 2016. Globally, glaciers cover about 10% of the Earth’s surface and store about 75% of the world’s freshwater.

Nazraeli Press, 2017