Lucas Foglia grew up in a farm in Long Island, New York, and this apparently small detail will influence his photographic research. His parents were part of the post 1960s “Back-to-the-land” movement, people who used to take up smallholding and to grow food from the land for themselves or others.
After graduating in Yale, Foglia scoured the US in a camper van with a camera, his intention was to meet all those communities who were living steps further his parents vision. A Natural Order one of the photobooks where he collected his documentary shots portrays a dozen American communities attempting to reach a completely self-sufficient lifestyle.
Foglia’s pictures are a kind of performance, the final result of the connection between the photographer and his subjects. Indeed, he spent a plenty of time with the people he shot. He said that an ordinary event of everyday life can become an exceptional event in a photograph if you know how to tell a story. Photographing, he says, is a social and intuitive process, whilst editing is more rational, it’s about writing a story. As a matter of fact, Foglia’s mother deals with stories and cultures passed down through generations and she taught Lucas that the key for a good story is be engaging and understandable at the same time.
What he tried to depict in the other photobook Frontcountry, a work that lasted six years, is the contradictions of the American border between farm animals and mines. The photographs of people who lived without needing money, who built houses from trees grown in their land, who drank fresh water from mountain steams. What comes out in both works is that any of these communities was off the grid, that despite their “primitive” lifestyle, they are not off the grid, they have cellphones, laptops and solar panels with electric sockets.
All images © Lucas Foglia
Written by Anna Trifirò