Reuben Wu Reveals the Beauty of Peru’s Shrinking Pastoruri Glacier

All images by Reuben Wu. Used with Creative Commons permission.

Chicago-based visual artist and music producer Reuben Wu has been one of our go-to creatives for inspiration for his otherworldly landscape photography. One of these is Lux Noctis, which, in his own words, “presents familiar sights in a new and unfamiliar light.” For the most recent installment of this project, he traveled to Peru in July 2018 to photograph one of the few glaciers that remain at the tropics at an altitude of 17,000 ft. The results are as stunning and magical as expected.

Titled Terminus, this set indeed follows the impressive visual quality we’ve previously seen in the previous installments of the Lux Noctis project. The eye-catching combination of vibrant colors, dramatic lighting, and surreal elements lends a cinematic feel to a typical glacial landscape. It’s yet another beautiful example of how Wu has already mastered transforming ordinary landscapes into extraordinary visual stories.

Wu’s artist statement makes Terminus an even more meaningful and pressing project. “This glacier is receding at a shocking rate due to climate change and as a result there has been a huge drop in tourism and an impact on the local community,” he spoke with urgency on the state of the Pastoturi Glacier in Cordillera Blanca. “However, with this series, I felt like this was an attempt to document and preserve the memory of a landscape in peril which may not exist in a decade.”

He also mentioned that reaching the glacier and shooting at an altitude of 17,000 ft proved to be a challenge, especially since he shot at night and under freezing conditions. Aside from losing sensations in his fingers and having difficulty in controlling the lighting and the drone as a result, the harsh temperature also significantly shortened battery life and limited the flight time. Since he was also out in the wilderness, there was no way that he could recharge the batteries and had only so much time to work.

Terminus was also the subject of a Great Big Story feature, which gives us a fascinating peek of Wu at work:

Don’t forget to check out Reuben Wu’s Behance portfolio and website to see more of his surreal landscape photography.