形容自己的風格形容為「紀實藝術攝影」(documentary fine art photography)的意大利攝影師Luca Locatelli，對於現代社會裡「經濟需要保持長期增長」的觀念抱有懷疑態度，他希望借用攝影的方式，讓大眾對人、自然和科技之間的關係展開激烈的討論。Luca畢業後從事了十多年軟件開發，其後成為紀實攝影師，並為《國家地理雜誌》工作。他持續了8年的攝影項目《未來研究》（Future Studies）正是回應我們心中的疑問——探索人類在地球生存的新途徑，以及如何解決我們正在面對的環境問題。這系列更得到今年的LEICA OSKAR BARNACK AWARD（LOBA），因而受到更廣泛的注目。Luca選出了2015年至2019年拍攝作品提交LOBA，主要是關於能源轉型和食物生產的未來。
What future can you imagine for yourself? In a time when the world is in turmoil and the pandemic is bringing fear and uncertainty, we might feel powerless over the direction of life. But it is also a time like this that gives us an unprecedented opportunity to take a break and reflect on our attitudes about the future and think about how we can re-establish a healthy relationship with nature and the planet.
The Italian photographer, Luca Locatelli, who defines his own photographic style as “documentary fine art photography,” is skeptical about the concept of economic growth. He aims to open up debates about our relationship with people, nature, and science-technology through photography. Before diving into documentary photography and becoming a contributor to National Geographic Magazine, Locatelli has worked as a software developer for over a decade. Eight years ago, he began to work on his long-term project, Future Studies, which eventually won the Leica Oskar Barnack Award (LOBA) 2020. The highly acclaimed photo series is a research into the new ways of human survival on the planet and how we can deal with the various environmental problems that we are facing. The selection of photos that was submitted to the LOBA was produced between 2015 and 2019, and is primarily dedicated to energy turnaround and future of food production.
Locatelli documented the shut-down nuclear power plants, offshore wind farms in the North Sea, a brown coal mine in Germany, and the world’s largest aircraft storage facility in Arizona, USA. He also photographed at Denmark’s largest waste-to-energy power plant, a geothermal power plant, an algae park in the Netherlands, an insect farm in Great Britain, and a greenhouse in Iceland. The stunning images he captured at these places have precise photographic composition and unique color that are comparable to motion pictures, and the occasional appearance of the mysterious-looking scientists and researchers in the images has added an eccentric touch to the collection. Who’d have imagined that those spectacular scenes from sci-fi movies like Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar would actually exist in this world? Our planet is indeed full of surprises.
Future Studies is a visual journey to explore the solutions to the 21st century’s climate crisis. It allows us to see the endless possibilities that lie ahead and give us hope for a better future. As Locatelli once said, real progress and sustainable future development are only possible with a minimal burden on the environment.
L：作為一位攝影師，記錄世界上解決氣候變化最有希望和創新的解決方式時，讓我在一些非常壯觀和獨一無二的地方裡尋找到自己。在我最新為《國家地理雜誌》做的專題〈The End of Trash〉裡，我有機會到世界各地旅遊，發掘一些獨特的循環經濟實例。那些我參觀過的地方，從最大和最先進的廢物能源工廠，到飛機墓地、意大利的古老回收設施，都是真正地讓我難以忘懷和著迷的。
O：你可否分享你對於贏了今年的LEICA OSKAR BARNACK AWARD的感受？
L：在我整個事業生涯中，我嘗試過以不同的LEICA相機拍攝，好像是LEICA S，而我正在嘗試使用LEICA SL2，當然還有美麗的M10-R，當我在德國威茲拉爾的LEICA總公司的頒獎典禮上收到這份獎品時，我便被它吸引著了。
O: Can you share the ideas of your project Future Studies?
L: Future Studies is the research I have been pursuing for more than 8 years on the relationship between people, technology and the environment. Concerns for the future of our planet and, ultimately, humanity, are rising—as a documentary photographer my aim is to discover the most promising solutions to the environmental crisis we are facing.
O: Why are you interested in exploring this area?
L: My journey as a photographer started in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, where I was involved in humanitarian and environmental support projects—we all know how these fragile ecosystems are interlinked to all living beings on the planet, and how their health and protection is crucial for the Earth. This pushed me to discover what can be done to limit, and ultimately halt, our damaging actions towards the environment—I was amazed at how technology surfaced as a promising tool to impact our activities and emissions.
O：What do you think about the relationship between nature and technology?
L：Technology has for a long time allowed us to have access to an extraordinary number of products and to a comfort unimaginable to previous generations. However, this often happened with a damaging effect on the ecosystem of our planet. Constant evolution and technological advancement surface at the same time as the cause and as a possible solution to the pressing environmental issues we are confronted with.
My belief, and hope, is that regardless of the path we choose in the future, we must do so with a strong attention towards the Earth. There is no “one” solution to climate change, greenhouse emissions, sustainable energy security or plastic pollution, and I always try to see how these solutions can impact our lives and hopefully put a dent in the damage we’re causing to the planet—it is often hard to stay positive with so many new reports of grim news concerning our environment, but I believe that in the same way we are causing these damages ourselves, we have the power to kickstart change.
O：Do you have any impressive moments when you are taking these photographs?
L：As a photographer documenting the most promising and innovative solutions to climate change in the world allows me to find myself in some truly spectacular and unique locations. During my latest assignment for National Geographic on The End of Trash I had the chance to travel around the world discovering some of the most unique examples of circular economy solutions. Some of the locations I visited, from the largest and most advanced waste to energy plant to plane graveyards, to old recycling facilities in Italy, were truly unforgettable and fascinating.
O：Can you share your feeling about winning the LEICA OSKAR BARNACK AWARD this year?
L：I am truly honoured for having been chosen as the winner for the Award. Future Studies is the culmination of eight years of research and work on the field, and this Award motivates me even further to continue pursuing my work and my visual investigation in the years to come.
O：Which camera from LEICA is your favorite? Why?
L：Throughout my career I had the chance to shoot with many Leica cameras, like the Leica S and now I’m trying the Leica SL2 and of course the beautiful M10-R I received as a prize during awarding ceremony at Leica headquarters in Wetzlar in Germany is the one I am obsessed with.
O：Why did you start to take documentary photographs?
L：Telling stories has always been my passion, and when I found in photography my favourite means of expression I knew I wanted to do it through images. Having the chance of travelling so much throughout my life exposed me to so many unbelievable and amazing stories that I couldn’t resist telling them through my camera.
O：What is your motivation for taking photographs?
L：Taking photographs, telling stories through images and discovering new fascinating subjects is truly what fuels me, even more so when the projects I deal with have the potential to have a huge impact on the world and the environment.
O：What inspired you as a documentary photographer?
L：I consider having had the opportunity to work with world-leading magazines and knowledgeable people a true privilege and a constant inspiration. Often the journalists, scientists and environmentalists I have the chance to work with are true experts in their field, passionate about digging deep into facts—one thing that truly influenced me it’s their constant and never ending drive to narrate stories that have an authentic power to bring issues to the attention of people all over the globe.
O： Is there anything you want to do or plan in the future?
L：I am constantly at work with my team to find new case studies and new stories to tell. I strongly believe it is imperative to talk about environmental issues and the glimpses of positive change happening around the world. I believe the most powerful stories and images have still to be taken, because we are just at the beginning of this huge transition we are fronting to fight the climate crisis. China sustainable innovation is the most powerful story I want to cover in the near future and I’m struggling to find the way to fund it.