Project Detail: The Last Man on Earth


2020 Nera di Verzasca Prize - Verzasca Foto Awards


Verzasca Foto


Joan Alvado


Project Info

The Last Man on Earth

"The Last Man on Earth" is an essay on extreme depopulation, where I question what might be the future of all depopulated areas all over the world if the trend of loss of population continues. Based in the Serrania Celtiberica, one of the most depopulated areas of Europe, in the center of Spain, I re-interpret landscape and inhabitants to generate a different view on the nature of these places.

Located in the mountainous interior of Spain, the “Serranía Celtibérica” is the second most depopulated area of Europe,
after Nordic Lapland. The demographic indicators of the area are scary: with an extension of 65,835 km2 (double
othe total territory of Belgium), the population density is just 7.34 inhabitants/km2. This condition of extreme depopulation
has set off alarms in Spain, where the area has become widely known as Lapland of the South.

Depopulation is consequence of migratory flows linked to the current economic model, where the abandonment of
the primary sector leaves large areas orphan of an economic source. Since we cannot foresee an alternative economic
engine for these areas, I hypothesize that depopulation is not reversible. And is a generic phenomenon in developed
countries. So we can glimpse a future in which larger and larger areas on Earth will be totally or partially deprived
of the presence of man. And life in these areas will not be as we know it today.

Based on these premises, and with Lapland of the South just as a geographical starting frame, "The Last Man on
Earth" is an essay in which I raise open questions on what the future of these territories might be. To avoid a
nostalgic approach about the rural world, I choose to reinterpret the landscape and its inhabitants, generating a
different view on the nature of these places. A vision, with a point of separation from reality, that challenges our perception
of the territory, making it a fantastic, unknown place.

How will these areas look in 30, 40 or 50 years? What remains when a population disappears?