Matt swings between trees on California's Lost Coast. Trained as a mechanical engineer, Matt worked in the solar energy industry and directed the design and construction of a clean-room factory in Thailand. Moving back to the United States, he spent 2 years sourcing his clothes, food, tools, and shelter from the wild. Now living in San Francisco, his goal is to bridge the pre-industrial and modern worlds. He is currently working for Google X. This photograph opens my last book, Human Nature, published by Nazraeli Press. A link to the book is in my bio.
I'm thrilled to share that my Human Nature series is on the shortlist for the @prix_pictet prize. The Prix Pictet is a global award for photographers focused on sustainability. In the context of ubiquitous negative news, I'm especially grateful that the Prix Pictet is amplifying hopeful stories. Many of the other 11 finalists are friends. I believe we are on the same team, working proactively to envision what the world could be. In this photograph, Rachel immerses herself in the mud pit at the Twin Oaks Communities Conference in Louisa, Virginia. People from around the world come to the conference to talk about ecovillages, cooperative housing, and how to live closer to nature. #prixpictet #hope
Kinley holds a bag of bull testicles during a branding in Texas.
I recently went back to Silverton, Texas, a town I first photographed in 2012 for my book, Frontcountry. Here, new wind turbines generate electricity next to an abandoned farm. Due to the depleting aquifer and years of drought, wind turbines now provide more consistent income than crops in Briscoe County.
In many of today's oil fields, companies extract 100 barrels of water from the ground to extract one barrel of oil. The Hamilton Dome Oil Field is located on the southwestern edge of Wyoming’s Big Horn Basin. The water it produces contains salts, oil droplets, treatment chemicals, gases, bacteria, and other living organisms. Produced water is typically trucked to a treatment facility for reuse or pumped into disposal wells deep underground. But, at Hamilton Dome Oil Field, the water is discharged into local river systems.
Charlie at his bar in Carlin, Nevada
Coal-fired power plants in Nevada and Wyoming. Burning coal is the single greatest human contribution to the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Alice is a haul truck driver for Newmont Mining Corporation in Nevada. Once rock is loaded onto haul trucks, high-grade ore is brought to a series of grinding mills. The resulting slurry is run through a series of leaching tanks which contain a cyanide solution. The cyanide dissolves the precious metals. Gold is extracted, melted in a furnace, poured into doré bars, and shipped to Switzerland for refining. It is now profitable to mine gold if there is an ounce of gold dust in 20,000 pounds of rock. The large nuggets of gold that made the American West famous have been gone from Nevada for generations.
In lieu of a general store, Eden, Wyoming has a saloon. The town’s main meeting place, the Eden Saloon sits across from a one room, historic log cabin church. At the last census, the town had a population of 281. Most of the residents work on ranches or for the natural gas industry at the nearby Jonah Field. Local teenagers volunteer to take empty bottles to the recycling center in Rock Springs, 40 miles away.
Roger is a welder on the Pinedale Anticline and Jonah Field. A former bodybuilder and U.S. Army Special Forces soldier, he regularly lifts weights in the toolshed at work. The presence of natural gas in the Jonah Field was known for years, but it was not deemed practical to extract with conventional drilling methods. In the 1970s, El Paso Natural Gas Company proposed a project called Wagon Wheel Nuclear Stimulation Project, which was an attempt to detonate nuclear devices to fracture the rock formations and enable natural-gas extraction. The project was abandoned. Today, fracking has made the area one of the most productive in the continental United States.
Mortensen family heirloom in the small town of Afton, Wyoming
Pixie and Kyd practice their duet at the Falling Leaves Rendezvous in rural Georgia. People gather there twice a year to learn to make fire without matches, harvest edible and medicinal plants, and use stone tools. Pixie didn't name her son until he was old enough to name himself. When he was four, he chose the name "Kyd."
Ruth's scarecrow in Tennessee
Watermelon patch at Twin Oaks Community in Virginia. Twin Oaks Community is an income-sharing community of approximately 100 people living on 450-acres in Louisa County, Virginia. Founded in 1967, it is one of the longest-enduring and largest secular intentional communities in North America.
James aims in North Carolina. He knapped the arrowhead, and made the arrow and the bow. He felted his hat. He has back muscles that I'll never have.
Cora at a general store near her home in Tennessee. The missing sign on the window is for a couple who likely ran away to the city.
Fish cooked in campfire ashes at the Falling Leaves Rendezvous in Georgia, where people from across the country gather to learn earthskills.
Tod and Talia's vegetable oil van in North Carolina. Talia said, "Over the years I’ve come to realize that most people are not going to, nor do they have any desire to, radically change their lives. Most people can’t walk away from the kids’ schools or their jobs or their mortgages, or whatever. They just can’t, and it would be asking too much for them to do it. But they can take some steps in just teaching themselves—learning more about gardening, learning more about food preservation and taking care of their own health. So there are things people can do to become a little more self-sufficient... if there’s any hope at all of being able to transition into a less chaotic life."
Harvest basket with squirrel in North Carolina...
Mason harvests hay in Kentucky. He does not have a social security number because his family has lived off the grid since before the initiation of the social security system.
Sunset over Lake Tahoe. (Photograph by Irene Zhou)
Kenzie hangs from her safety rope inside the Vaughan Lewis Glacier. Every summer since 1946, members of the @juneauicefieldresearchprogram have traversed the Juneau Icefield, contributing to the oldest continual study of a glacier in the Western Hemisphere. The Juneau Icefield in southeast Alaska is one of the largest ice fields in the world, covering more than 1,500 square miles. This photograph is included in my new book, Human Nature, from Nazraeli Press. An exhibition will be at Fredericks & Freiser Gallery in NYC through January 13.
TONIGHT. Opening reception for my show "Human Nature" at Fredericks & Freiser Gallery from 6 - 8pm. At 536 W 24th Street, New York. Come say hello!
I will be at the opening on November 30th. Stop by and say hi! It will be the first US exhibition of the photographs from my new book!
Some news I'm excited about! Nazraeli Press just published my third book of photographs, Human Nature. Human Nature begins in cities and moves through forests, farms, deserts, ice fields, and oceans, towards wilderness. In an age when the average American spends 93% of their life indoors, I photographed government programs that connect people to nature, neuroscientists measuring how spending time in wild places benefits us, and climate scientists measuring how human activity is changing the air. Many of the scientists included in the book are now facing budget cuts and censorship by the Trump administration. Sean O'Hagan, from The Guardian wrote that Human Nature is "a lyrical meditation on the complex dynamic between humans and the natural world at what may prove to be a critical time for both." To see more photographs, and to buy the book, visit the link in my bio. Please share!
Sending well wishes to friends at vineyards in Northern California, many of whom are fighting off wildfires today...
Alice with a pear, at one of the Southside Community Land Trust gardens in Providence
Beavertail State Park in Rhode Island, one of my favorite places in the world.
Organic dairy farm near Sebastopol, California
An alternative to the biblical burning bush, in Nevada.
Ela and Bly looking out of their window on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming
A gas station parking lot in the town of Eden, Wyoming
Brittiney, with Ajna nursing at Acorn Community in Virginia