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These award-winning photos depict what humanity has to do to survive the future

Future Studies is an award-winning photo collection that captures what we need to survive in the years to come 

With the pandemic being what it is, the digital age has gone further ahead than what we originally imagined. At a time when everything is done online, it’s never been easier to live life detached from everything outside. Still, with all these advancements comes a question: where are we headed from here? 

This is what Italian photographer Luca Locatelli delves into in his photo series, Future Studies. The collection was a long-term project in which Locatelli researched new means for humanity to survive on planet Earth. With it, he seeks to question the existing norms of permanent economic growth, as well as the relationship between  humanity, nature, and technology. 

The Control Room Greifswald nuclear power station, also known as Lubmin nuclear power station.
Photo: Luca Locatelli

“One of the characteristic symptoms of the times we are living in is the growing feeling that we are losing the vision of a better future, of a promising, yet unknown, hypothetical tomorrow,” Locatelli says.

“During these tough times of COVID-19, when the world seems to have stood still, we have been given a chance like never before. We can consider what our behavior should look like in the future, where efforts should be made to re-establish a healthy relationship with nature and the planet.”  

The images from Locatelli’s collection might have just sparked the debate he was hoping for as Future Studies has since won the Leica Oskar Barnack Award. It’s a distinction granted to photographers who “capture and express the relationship between man and the environment in the most graphic form.”

Renewables are booming, but Germany’s use of lignite, the dirtiest coal, hasn’t declined.
Photo: Luca Locatelli

The award is named after Oskar Barnack from Leitz—the company that would later become Leica. It was Barnack who developed the first 35 mm camera in the world. At the time, it was a relatively small format, though it would later see widespread adoptation. 

It is in a similar visionary spirit that the award is given. And if Locatelli’s photos are any indication, we have a lot of work to do in the days ahead, even after we finally lay the pandemic to rest.

Check out the full gallery below: