There is a universal uptick in people going off the grid, from urban beekeeping, to DIY, to the more drastic, total migration away from city life. All over the world, people are trying to get back in touch with a pre-consumer lifestyle one way or another.
Within the idea of moving away to help cure the world, lies a considerable amount of romanticism which attracts many photographers to portray these alternative lifestyles, and photographer Lucas Foglia is the latest one who follows the trend in exploring life away from the urban treadmill, deep in the woods, completely self-reliant.
Lucas, a graduate of Yale, is not a stranger to this mindset. He grew up on a farm on Long Island close to Manhattan where his parents were part of the post 1960’s “back to the land movement,” and while many of the area surrounding became increasingly urbanised, his parents continued to strive for selfsufficiency.
As a reminiscence of his youth, in 2006 Lucas decided to set off with his camper van and camera to make a five year visual travel documentary throughout the southeastern States; Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina and Georgia. During these years he had immersed himself in the lives of people living in alternative communities. The friendships that grew from these experiences formed the foundations for the photographs he took, an intimate portrayal of people who, motivated by environmental concerns, religious beliefs, and the global economic depression, build their homes using local materials, obtaining their water from nearby springs, hunt, gather, and grow their very own food.
Viewing these photographs, the harmonious natural colors, and iconic compositions can easily make you idealize a sustainable living as such, yet, Foglia also highlights the social issues facing these communities, the contrasts and undeniable continuing connection with city life. He notes “Many of these radical naturalists do have websites that they update using laptop computers and cell phones that they charge on car batteries or solar panels.”
The photographs of Foglia's past five years have just been published in a beautiful, large-format book called "A Natural Order." The book, captures these lifestyles not just as an idyll, but as a reality.