While there’s no question that photography is a way for us to see things through another person’s eyes, acclaimed Chiacgo-based Reuben Wu never fails to take it up a notch. A fine example of the otherworldly landscape photography he has become known for is Lux Noctis, a series of photographs imagining the landscapes of North America as the setting of a surreal story inspired by exploring mysterious and undiscovered worlds.
As with most of his creative projects as a photographer, music producer, and filmmaker, Reuben’s Lux Noctis commands the viewer’s full attention. With each image featuring a carefully planned scene complete with theatrically-lit composition, we are instantly made spectators to an unfolding story of intrepid space travelers exploring surreal alien worlds.
“We are overwhelmed everyday by beautiful images of the familiar. I imagine these scenes transformed into undiscovered landscapes which renew our perceptions of our world,” Reuben mentions in his description. “Using the GPS-enabled aerial light/drones in specific positions in space, I am able to produce moods of drama and tension through use of chiaroscuro, and the ability to illuminate isolated features of a scene and exclude unwanted elements.”
Indeed, his dramatic landscape photographs take us to locations that are both strange and familiar, of nature’s handiwork that remind us of home but still mostly bizarre. The way the rock formations and natural structures were lit was also an effective way to shroud the scene in mystery, ensuring that viewers only see what sets off their imagination.
Made in equal parts of imagination, skill, and surreal storytelling, Lux Noctis is an inspiring example of how far we can push the conventions of landscape photography to create outstanding bodies of work. Sometimes, all it needs is a little push of a compelling story.