“When I want to feel at peace,” says Luján Agusti, “I think of a Patagonian landscape.” Vast and sometimes inhospitable, Argentina’s Patagonia is miles of steppe and desert stretching from the Atlantic to the Andes. A National Geographic Explorer, Agusti photographs this region and the people who make it their home from her base in Ushuaia in southernmost Argentina.
Agusti zooms in on stories deeply rooted in place. She has documented women in Tierra del Fuego weaving with sustainably sourced local wool, spent time with Indigenous Mapuche women trying to preserve ancestral practices, and visited solitary gauchos living in the steppe and the peatlands—wetland systems with accumulations of partly decayed plants.
These spongy areas are the focus of her latest project, supported by the Climate Pledge—companies aiming for net-zero carbon emissions by 2040—and by the National Geographic Society. Agusti will document the beauty of peatlands on four continents and their role in storing huge amounts of carbon. People tend to avoid these boggy ecosystems, she says. “I want to show the peatlands as landscapes that have always been disregarded but are now so important for humanity’s survival.”
This story appears in the January 2023 issue of National Geographic magazine.