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Between 2006 and 2013, photographer Lucas Foglia traveled throughout rural Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Wyoming.

His new book Frontcountry, from Nazraeli Press, finds people living in a boom cycle as a result of mining, one that’s producing a new, modern take on the Wild West.

Lucas Foglia grew up on a small family farm in New York and graduated from Brown University and the Yale School of Art. Foglia’s first monograph, A Natural Order, was published by Nazraeli Press in 2012 to international critical acclaim.

Foglia’s photographs have been widely exhibited in the United States and in Europe, and are in the permanent collections of museums including the Denver Art Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

“Frontcountry” is on view at Fredericks & Freiser, New York, through April 19, 2014.

All images used with permission, copyright © the artist, all rights reserved.

The Morning News:

How did this project start?

Lucas Foglia:

When I went to visit a friend in Wyoming in 2009. I expected to find cowboys, ghost towns, and wilderness. What I encountered was a mining boom.

TMN:

What size towns did you visit?

LF:

The smallest town I visited had three people living there. Sweetwater Station, Wyo. It does have a great bookstore, which is housed in a barn.

Ranching requires a lot of land, with a small number of people needed to move cattle across it. There are still more cows then people in rural Nevada. The mining towns I visited were larger, since mining concentrates jobs and since companies help pay for the towns where the mine workers live.

TMN:

How do you build trust with subjects?

LF:

I met almost everyone I photographed through friends of friends. It’s easy to feel like a stranger when visiting a small town, but once you get to know one person you can meet the whole town.

TMN:

Is continuity a challenge when you’re developing a project over such a long period?

LF:

A rancher told me that for the first day I was a guest and after that I was free labor. It’s from those situations—from staying in a place, working on project for a long time—that I make photographs. That feels natural to me.

TMN:

What’s your ratio of tossed photos to keepers?

LF:

I made over 60,000 photographs. We chose 60 for the book that was just published by Nazraeli Press. And there are 21 prints in my exhibition at Fredericks & Freiser Gallery in New York.

TMN:

How much in your photography are you recording, how much are you creating?

LF:

I think of my photographs as interpretations. As much as my photographs question the mythology of the American West, I do think that a wild landscape is an important thing to keep.

TMN:

Is that wild landscape disappearing?

LF:

There are still millions of acres of high desert, mountains, and sagebrush in the areas I photographed, although with new technologies land that wasn’t valuable a decade ago is now being mined.

TMN:

At what point in the process are you most excited? Most discouraged?

LF:

It is the feeling of being completely in the activity of a place that I love most. I’m most discouraged when I feel like a stranger.

TMN:

Then how do you get the process going when you land somewhere new, where you don’t know people? Is it easy for you to throw yourself into situations?

LF:

Like I said, I was introduced to most of the people I photographed through friends. When I didn’t know anyone, I just introduced myself, offered to help out, and stayed for as long as I was welcome.

TMN:

Do you nap?

LF:

Sometimes! I have a van with a bed built into the back, and when I’m tired on the road and the weather is nice I pull off, open the doors, and fall asleep.