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Luca Locatelli‘s award-winning Future Studies series serves to strengthen awareness concerning the fundamental, environmental questions of the 21st century. The central issues relate to agriculture and the future of food production, the expansion of cities, the reduction of garbage, and solutions for efficient environmental services, as well as future supplies of renewable energies. From amid this diversity of subjects and mass of motifs, the selection Locatelli submitted to the LOBA focussed primarily on food issues and the opportunities related to the energy turnaround. Virtually all the pictures were taken in Europe, because, “when you start to dig, looking for possible solutions and the most promising examples of how to confront climate issues, you discover that the north of Europe, in particular, is really like another world. The epicentre is in Europe”. This reality took the photographer to Iceland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Great Britain.

In 2015, he also spent two months in Germany on assignment for National Geographic, documenting the energy turnaround. He was carrying a Leica S in his bag for the first time. “It was a huge assignment. One of the most industrialized countries in the world has a government scheme based on ‘let’s change the way we produce energy’ – with all the errors, mistakes and struggles that implies. I was impressed. I visited coal mines where traditional energy is produced, as well as innovators. It wasn’t always easy to get a licence, or to simply jump into a helicopter or climb onto a wind turbine in the middle of the North Sea.” His impressive images are so much more than just documentation; their clear compositions and strong colour schemes offer unusual insight into places that are otherwise inaccessible.

Locatelli sees his work as a contribution towards the necessary debate regarding how we want to live in the future. He is convinced that proper progress and real development can only happen with a minimum of impact on the environment: “A typical symptom of the times we live in, is the growing feeling of the loss of a better future, a hypothetical tomorrow that is perceived as something full of promise yet also unknown. Never before have we had such an opportunity to reflect on what our attitudes should be in the future as we have had during this difficult time of Covid-19, which has brought the world to a standstill. This allows us to consider what our efforts must be in order to re-establish a healthy relationship with nature and the planet.“ (Ulrich Rüter)

You can find the series and further information in the LFI issue 8/2020.
All images on this page: © Luca Locatelli
Captain overlooking a wind farm in the North Sea, Germany; June 8, 2015.
Das Kernkraftwerk Greifswald war das größte Kernkraftwerk in Ostdeutschland, bevor es kurz nach der deutschen Wiedervereinigung abgeschaltet wurde.
Since 1995, workers have been dismantling and cleaning radioactive surfaces of this nuclear power plant, using steel grit so that the metal can be reused.
This coal and mineral ore storage facility in the port of Hamburg is surrounded by wind turbines, extending into the distance.
A nuclear reactor at Kalkar in Germany was finished – but never used – just before the 1986 explosion at Chernobyl, Ukraine. It’s now an amusement park, with a ride in what would have been the cooling tower.
A worker assembling a wind turbine blade, Denmark.
© Luca Locatelli

Luca Locatelli

Luca Locatelli was born in Italy in 1971. After studying Information Technology, he worked as a software developer before beginning his career as a documentary photographer in 2006. He has been a photographer for National Geographic since 2015, and has been represented by agencies such as the Institute for Artist Management since 2016. Within the framework of his work as a photographer and film maker, he produces his stories in collaboration with journalists, environmental activists and scientists, to better contextualise his research. Locatelli lives in Milan.

LOBA 2020
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