Works in Progress - Spring 2012

The Naked West

By Chloe Taft | March 14, 2013


Documentary photographer Lucas Foglia converted the back of his 2002 Odyssey minivan into a bed so that he could travel back roads to take pictures. “It lets me be more self-sufficient,” he explains. Most recently, the Odyssey has taken him from his base in San Francisco into the ranching, farming, and mining communities that dot the rural West.

The ongoing series, which he calls Frontcountry, began in 2009 when he accompanied a reporter on assignment to a small town in Wyoming. “The division between the wild, roadless areas and the towns was stark,” he says, as was the contrast between residents’ fierce loyalty to the land and their growing dependence on extractive industries. Foglia, who has since traveled through Montana, Idaho, California, New Mexico, and Nevada, says he wants to portray the people who stay put even as little towns shrink and wilderness areas disappear.

“I am not trying to make an objective story,” Foglia explains. “I think of photographs as opinions about facts. Oftentimes the best pictures come from my relationships with the people I photograph.”

An exhibit of Frontcountry photos opens March 31 at Brown University in Providence.

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