Lucas FogliaPatrick and Anakeesta, Tennessee from A Natural Order series (2007)

If you’ve studied photography at all, viewing Foglia’s work–besides being an utterly joyful proposition–is likely to be a bit like Where’s Waldo; except instead of finding the ambulatory nerd decked out in a red and white striped shirt, you’ll be registering the effing myriad of prominent photo-historical influences.

There are two influences that I think are especially relevant to consider in the context of this image: Sternfeld’s Sweet Earth–which might best be seen as an initial survey upon which the series which contains this image (A Natural Order) is a more focused examination with a decidedly humanistic approach; and Fred Hüning’s ground breaking handling of nudity as entirely common place, even as it forms a spectrum from incidental to overtly sensual.

On a personal note, this image in particular resonates with me fiercely. The reasons aren’t something I can share in their entirety due to matters of privacy but I’ve maintained in a steadfast fashion that I have no desire to reproduce. There are two factors informing this notion:

  1. The world is fucked up and bullshit and it seems to me the ultimate act of human arrogance and hubris–not to mention cruelty–to bring a life into this world as it is.
  2. Like most folks who come of age in staggeringly abusive environments, I worry that I am too fundamentally damaged to be a good parent. Not to mention irresponsible, immature and selfish.

However, during an intense conversation with a very dear friend–friend is nowhere near strong enough a label, perhaps ‘lover’ is closer were there a way to subtract explicit sexual intimacy from the term–she noted that she wants to have a child because while she understands and agrees with my analysis, the world isn’t going to improve unless people who care are willing to risk stepping outside of their comfort zone and try to build a better future. And the simple fact is: a better future requires the continuation of the lineage of people who believe in gentle dreams.

And in that moment and still in this moment, I felt a longing I cannot name and the only expression I can give it would be to have said to her: if it was with you, I would want a child, too.

Life is strange, yo; life is strange.

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