Human Nature ↵ About This Project

Exhibition at Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Matt Swinging between Trees, Lost Coast, California 2015

Trained as a mechanical engineer, Matt worked in the solar energy industry and directed the design and construction of a clean-room factory in Thailand. Moving back to the United States, he spent 2 years sourcing his clothes, food, tools, and shelter from the wild. Now living in San Francisco, his goal is to bridge the pre-industrial and modern worlds. He is currently working for Google X on a renewable energy project.

Maddie with Water Lilies, North Carolina 2008

Maddie swims in the pond on her family's land in rural North Carolina. Her parents built their off grid home using trees from their property. Much of their food comes from their garden or is gathered from the nearby woods. Maddie's father, Nathan, is the director of Buffalo Cove Outdoor Education Center, a wilderness camp located in the foothills of the Southern Appalachians dedicated to helping children discover and connect with the natural world.

Rachel Mud Bathing, Virginia 2009

Rachel immerses herself in the communal mud pit at the Twin Oaks Communities Conference in Louisa, Virginia. People from around the world come to the conference to talk about ecovillages, cooperative housing, and how to live closer to nature.

Maggie in an EEG Study of Cognition in the Wild, Strayer Lab, University of Utah, Utah 2016

Kate in an EEG Study of Cognition in the Wild, Strayer Lab, University of Utah, Utah 2015

Kate participates in a study measuring how time in nature benefits cognition, organized by neuroscientist David Strayer. The EEG cap and facial electrodes record brain activity as Maggie is exposed to the natural environment of rural Utah.

Esme Swimming, Parkroyal on Pickering, Singapore 2014

Esme swims in the balcony pool of a hotel in Singapore, as rush hour traffic builds on the road below her. The hotel contains over 15,000 square meters of greenery, amounting to twice its land area. In Singapore, 100 percent of the population is urban. The city-state is promoting conservation of its natural resources and the use of green technology. ‘Wild’ nature is being reincorporated into the city.

Hafiz and Stasia on a Staycation, Parkroyal on Pickering, Singapore 2014

Low and Ng Landscaping the First McDonald's with a Green Roof, Singapore 2014

Francisco before Boxing Practice, Davey Lopes Recreation Center, Rhode Island 2011

At the Davey Lopes Recreation Center in Providence, Rhode Island, local children grow food to give away to people who live in the neighborhood.

Madelaine in a Study of Stress Reduction in Virtual Reality, Bosch Lab, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden 2015

Dr. Matilda van den Bosch stresses her subjects with a math test and a simulated job interview. After delivering them into a virtual forest with singing birds, she measures how soon her subjects' heart rates recover.

Troy Holding a Guinea Fowl Chick, GreenHouse Program, Rikers Island Jail Complex, New York 2014

Rikers Island is New York City's main jail complex and the largest penal colony in the world. There are five organic gardens run by the Horticultural Society of New York, where detainees and prisoners tend flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Riots, lockdowns, beatings, and solitary confinement occur in the nearby buildings.

Stacy, Corey, Daniel, and Melinda, Malaysian House in Rainforest Biome, Eden Project, England

Xing in an Aviary, Jurong Bird Park, Singapore 2014

Urban Greenway in Seoul, South Korea 2014

Nate Clearcutting a Forest Planted 60 Years Earlier, Oregon 2014

Joel Clearcutting a Forest Planted 60 Years Earlier, Oregon 2014

Lumber Mill, Oregon 2014

Jason Igniting a Controlled Burn, US Forest Service, California 2015

In the United States each year, wildfires burn millions of acres of land. The number has been rising. To prevent wildfires, the US Forest Service performs controlled burns between fire seasons, when the land is wet enough that fires don't go out of control. The budget for controlled burns is 1 percent of the amount spent fighting wildfires.

Controlled Burn, California 2015

Trees Marked for Cutting after a Wildfire, National Park Service, California 2015

Paul, Tree Grower, Oregon 2014

Trent, Torrey, and Taylor, Cattle Ranch, Nevada 2013

Kinley Holding a Bag of Bull Testicles during a Branding, Texas 2019

Farmer John Slaughterhouse and Meat Packing Plant, California 2014

Barn, California 2011

Jesús, José, and Luis Harvesting Turnips and Miner’s Lettuce, Heirloom Organic Gardens, California 2011

Alicia Clearing Land for Farming, California 2012

Ice to Protect Orange Trees from the Cold, California 2015

Farmers still use ice, the best technology available, to protect orange trees from cold winter temperatures in the Central Valley of California.

New Crop Varieties for Extreme Weather, Geneva Greenhouses, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, New York 2013

New varieties of grapes, peppers, and raspberries are grown and tested under high-voltage lamps at the Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York. Scientists race to create climate-change-resilient agriculture. By crossbreeding domesticated crops with their wild ancestors, they propagate super-hardy strains that can withstand droughts, heat waves, and freezes. As erratic weather patterns intensify, farmers need crops that can cope with such stresses.

New Wind Turbines next to an Abandoned Farm, Texas 2019

Due to the depleting aquifer and years of drought, wind turbines now provide more consistent income than crops in Briscoe County, Texas.

Michael Gleaning Cotton, Texas 2006

Palm Trees without Water, California 2014

Dave and Jenny, Swimsuit Shoot on an Abandoned Farm, California 2014

Allie Waving to Town, Nevada 2013

Madaya, Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah 2014

Gas Station, Wyoming 2009

Air Sampling, Mauna Loa Observatory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Hawaii 2016

Researchers at Mauna Loa Observatory have continuously monitored and collected data related to atmospheric change since the 1950's. They maintain the longest continuous record of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The undisturbed air, remote location, and minimal influences of vegetation and human activity are ideal for climate science.

Chance and Patrick Launching an Ozonesonde Balloon, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Colorado 2016

The ozonesonde balloon will measure ozone and standard meteorological quantities such as pressure, temperature and humidity in the upper atmosphere.

Chuck Taking Sample Readings at the Geysers, the World’s Largest Geothermal Field, California 2015

The Geysers is the world's largest geothermal field, containing a complex of 22 geothermal power plants that draw steam from more than 350 wells, approximately 72 miles north of San Francisco, California.

Charles Looking at the Sun, Space Weather Prediction Center, Colorado 2016

If a major eruption happens on the sun, the solar storm can send electromagnetic radiation and charged particle radiation into our atmosphere.

Elk at the Game and Fish Department, Wyoming 2010

To catch people hunting unlawfully in western Wyoming during the off-season, rangers from the state’s Game and Fish Department occasionally conduct sting operations. They position a taxidermied elk in mountain valleys and wait out of sight for someone to shoot it. This elk was on its day off in the hallway of the department’s Pinedale Regional Office.

Cliff Swallow Nests under a Highway Overpass, Nevada 2012

Honey Bees on a Rooftop after Rain, Oregon 2014

Rooftops in the city of Portland, Oregon, host bee hives to pollinate the city's plant life.

Josh Winter Bathing, Sweden 2015

Air Sampling Site, Niwot Ridge, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Colorado 2016

Air samples from Niwot Ridge in Colorado are used by NOAA Earth Systems Research Laboratory’s Global Monitoring Division to make real air standards–the air to which every other air sample is compared.

Uwe Measuring the Velocity of a Glacier, Juneau Icefield Research Program, Alaska 2016

Every summer since 1946, members of the Juneau Icefield Research Program have traversed the Juneau Icefield, contributing to the oldest continual study of a glacier in the Western Hemisphere. The Juneau Icefield in southeast Alaska is one of the largest ice fields in the world, covering more than 1,500 square miles.

Kenzie in a Crevasse, Juneau Icefield Research Program, Alaska 2016

Evan Sleeping at Camp 18, Juneau Icefield Research Program, Alaska 2016

If climate-warming trends continue, the Juneau Icefield is expected to completely disappear by 2200.

Icebergs from the Gilkey Glacier, Alaska 2016

Globally, glaciers cover about 10% of the Earth’s surface and store about 75% of the world’s freshwater.

Beach Restoration after El Niño Waves, California 2016

Lava Boat Tour, Hawaii 2017

The Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii has been erupting continuously since 1983. In 2017 a torrent of molten rock poured out into the Pacific Ocean. Tourists from around the world rented seats on lava boat tours, despite the risk of flaming debris falling on them.

House Construction after a Lava Flow, Hawaii 2016

The new house is at an elevation of approximately 20 feet higher than the last house, which was built in the same place, before the lava flow.

Goda and Lev in the Cleanest Air on Earth, Hawaii 2016

The air over Cape Kumukahi on the Big Island of Hawaii has traveled across the Pacific Ocean. It is arguably the cleanest air on Earth. This photograph was made on Goda and Lev's second date. They asked for a clothed portrait and, during the photo shoot, started kissing.