Lucas Foglia grew up with his extended family on a small farm in the suburbs of New York City. While malls and supermarkets developed around them, they heated their house with wood, farmed and canned their food, and bartered the plants they grew for everything; from shoes to dental work. But while his family followed many of the principles of the back-to-the-land movement, by the time he was eighteen they owned three tractors, four cars, and five computers. This mixture of the modern world in their otherwise rustic life made him curious to see what a completely self-sufficient way of living might look like.
To create his photographic project A Natural Order, Foglia travelled throughout the South Eastern United States from 2006 through 2010 befriending, photographing, and interviewing a network of people who left cities and suburbs to live off the grid. Motivated by environmental concerns, religious beliefs or the global economic recession, they chose to build their homes from local materials, obtain their water from nearby springs, and hunt, gather, or grow their own food.
His second body of work Frontcountry is a photographic account of people living in the midst of a mining boom that is transforming the modern American West. Foglia's work is driven by the desire to tell stories, and it conveys an understanding of the land as a resource and inquisitiveness as to how people make a living from it. The images feel rooted in the romance of the American landscape, yet his work has a signature that always refers back to its inhabitants. His practice continues in the line of previous American social documentary photographers whose work, in book and print form, is intended as a prolonged and measured examination of a theme.
"Photography for me is a mechanism to learn about things. I wanted to see if I could find the absolute, if there were communities or individuals who lived off the grid and were wholly self-sufficient."
- Lucas Foglia
Lucas Foglia (b. 1983) graduated with a MFA in Photography from Yale University and with a BA in Art Semiotics from Brown University. His photographs have been widely exhibited in the United States and in Europe, and are in the permanent collections of museums including the Denver Art Museum, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Philadelphia Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Victoria & Albert Museum.