‘This little town has nothing. It’s dying on the vine. But when the company opens a mine here, it’ll bring jobs and make everything bigger and better. There are people who want that boost to the community. I’m not one of them. The mine will ruin this mountain and you’ll never find land this beautiful anywhere else.’ Randy Stowell, Big Springs Ranch, Oasis, Nevada 2012.
Between 2006 and 2013, Lucas Foglia travelled throughout rural Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Wyoming, some of the least populated regions in the United States. Frontcountry is a photographic account of people living in the midst of a mining boom that is transforming the modern American West.
The images are a conflation of that sort of plastic composition that is achieved through colour (as in Vivianne Sassen) or with a very transparent and cold air (as in Philip Lorca da Corcia). The interiors and the American images are common places and the way they are lit do not help. Foglia seems to try far too hard.
The problem with his narrative drive is that it clashes with the pictorial force (in the sense of abstract) of his pictures. The result is confusing with the exception of his landscapes where these contradictions emerge as visual oxymorons. For this reason, I do not know if Foglia manages to get those images by chance or whether they just happen.
The press release states that ‘the images feel rooted in the romance of the American landscape, yet his work has a signature that always refers back to its inhabitants, reflecting the artist’s personable nature and patient observation. 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’. This is true, the problem is that there is no visual unifying principle in his work. They even seem as if they were taken by different people. Having said this, there are a couple of images that are worth our attention. Just a thought.