“One of the characteristic symptoms of the times we are living in is the growing feeling that we are losing the vision of a better future, of a promising, yet unknown, hypothetical tomorrow. During these tough times of Covid19, when the world seems to have stood still, we have been given a chance like never before. We can consider what our behaviour should look like in the future, where efforts should be made to re-establish a healthy relationship with nature and the planet.”
Luca Locatelli’s (b. 1971) Future Studies project, winner of the 2020 Leica Oskar Barnack Award, visualises research into new ways for our future survival on the planet, and how to deal with the enormous environmental problems we face. The photographer questions the reigning idea of permanent economic growth, and opens up an intense debate about our relationship with nature and technology.
Locatelli, who came to photography when he was already in his mid-30s, was also interested in technology and innovation when previously working as a computer scientist and software developer. He began work on his Future Studies series seven years ago. The selection that was submitted to the LOBA was produced between 2015 and 2019, and is primarily dedicated to the energy turnaround and the future of food production.
Locatelli took pictures in shut-down nuclear power plants, port facilities, at a North Sea wind park, and at a brown coal mine in Germany. He visited a wind turbine factory, one of Denmark’s largest waste-to-energy power plants, a geothermal power plant and a greenhouse in Iceland. He visited other enormous greenhouses, an algae park in the Netherlands, an insect farm in Great Britain, and documented the world’s largest aircraft storage facility in Arizona.
To view the 2020 Leica Oskar Barnack shortlist, click here.
Read more about the award in the October / November edition of Aesthetica, available here.
1. Furrows of artificial light lend an otherworldly aura to the greenhouses. Climate-controlled farms such as these in Westland, the Netherlands, grow crops around the clock and in every kind of weather; March 3, 2017. From the Future Studies series. Courtesy of Luca Locatelli and the Oskar Barnack Award.
2. A country house in Westland, the Netherlands, surrounded by greenhouses; March 9, 2017. From the Future Studies series. Courtesy of Luca Locatelli and the Oskar Barnack Award.
3. Nestled in the lava fields of Reykjanes Peninsula, this greenhouse belonging to ORF Genetics is using Icelandic water, enriched with nutrients and energy from a neighbouring geothermal power plant; August 7, 2019. From the Future Studies series. Courtesy of Luca Locatelli and the Oskar Barnack Award.