One of the most common subjects in the history of American photography is the West. It’s a landscape fraught with potential cliche, but Lucas Foglia’s project Frontcountry cuts through popular conceptions and shows the reality of a rapidly transforming area of our country.
There are many familiar tropes at play in Frontcountry; from sweeping landscape views to lone cowboys. Each photo, however, portrays these subjects beyond their traditional pretenses. The day-to-day lives of individuals living in these remote areas may seem foreign to city dwellers, yet are shown in a strikingly unromantic light.
Foglia visited the Western states over seven years, and being from Long Island, approached the region very much as an outsider. You can see this distance in the photographs where people are shot from afar, almost turning them into part of the landscape themselves. When Foglia does move in to capture a portrait close up, you can almost see his subjects thinking “who are you and what are you doing here.” Some might prefer a more entrenched approach to documentary photography, but the wide scope and quietness of Frontcountry compliment his subject-matter well.
A key aspect of Foglia’s interest in the West was in the transforming nature of the region due to various uses of the land. In Nevada, you have a gold mining boom going on, and in Wyoming, natural gas is a hot commodity. The industrial takeover of the landscape is evident as a constant presence in people’s lives. It’s an often grim reminder of the West’s fading history as untamed wilderness.
Pictures: Lucas Foglia