Human Nature, Lucas Foglia's photography

Lucas Foglia Human Nature

Rachel Mud Bathing, Virginia, 2009.

Esme Swimming, Parkroyal on Pickering, Singapore, 2014.

Troy Holding a Guinea Fowl Chick, Rikers Island Jail Complex, New York, 2014.

Kate in an EEG Study of Cognition in the Wild, Utah, 2015.

Chuck Taking Sample Readings at the Geysers, California, 2015.

Kenzie in a Crevasse, Juneau Icefield Research Program, Alaska, 2016.

Jason Igniting a Controlled Burn, US Forest Service, California, 2015.

New Crop Varieties for Extreme Weather, Agricultural Experiment Station, New York, 2013.

House Construction after a Lava Flow, Hawaii, 2016.

Goda and Lev in the Cleanest Air on Earth, Hawaii, 2016.

Artist's statement

Conservationists often disagree about how humankind should best move forward from the damage we have already done. Traditionalists argue that we should put a boundary around wild spaces to preserve them, but there is no way to contain the effects of people.

More radical conservationists propose moving all people to green cities, supplied with renewable energy and sustainable agriculture, so the countryside can re-wild itself.

Responding to this debate, I befriended and photographed people who are working towards a positive environmental future despite the enormity of the task. Human Nature is a series of interconnected stories about our reliance on the natural world and the science that fosters our relationship to it. Each story is set in a different ecosystem: city, forest, farm, desert, ice field, ocean, and lava flow. From a newly built rainforest in urban Singapore to a Hawaiian research station measuring the cleanest air on Earth, the photographs examine our need for “wild” places – even when those places are human constructions.

Hope fuels the work of the people I photographed and drives how I use their images. I exhibit prints of my photographs in galleries, festivals, and museums. I publish photographs in books, in magazines, and on social media. I also give my photographs to local and international organizations to use for advocacy. All are different methods of storytelling, and there is activism and optimism in each of them.

About the photographer


1983, United States



Based in

San Francisco, United States

About Lucas Foglia

Lucas Foglia grew up on a farm in New York and currently lives in San Francisco. His third book, Human Nature, was published in 2017 by Nazraeli Press.

Foglia’s prints are held in major collections including Denver Art Museum; Foam, Amsterdam; the International Center of Photography, New York; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Philadelphia Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.