Stefano Gardel Imagines a Cyberpunk Neon Future in Japan

All photos by Stefano Gardel. Used with Creative Commons permission.

The neon trend may not garner the same interest it once did: we can’t blame those who think this trend has become overdone. But with the right idea and great execution, it can still net some really interesting work. Case in point is the cyberpunk imagery largely inspired by movies like Blade Runner. We’ve seen some really impressive ones in the past and we’re glad to add one more to the list. This time, it’s a re-imagining of Japan by Swiss fine art photographer Stefano Gardel.

The first time we saw Gardel making great work with neon aesthetics, he used a subtle neon pink to add a touch of surreal mood to his desert scenes. In his series titled Neon Future, however, he goes full-on cyberpunk with all the vibrant colors in his re-imagining of Japan. It’s not surprising he chose to traverse between Tokyo and Osaka to bring this idea to life: Japan is one of the inspirations behind the cyberpunk sci-fi subgenre.

Neon Future emulates a dystopian mood or at least imagines what a transition towards a cyberpunk future feels like. The vibrant colors set against darkness does evoke a Blade Runner feel, especially in the rooftop shots.

“I wanted to recreate the sense of longing and separation of a dystopic futuristic society that has lost connection with the natural elements. A vibrant but nostalgic mood aware of its own decadence,” Gardel said on the idea behind the series.

He also explained that he “wanted to create highly detailed images with a single strong electric neon tonality all across.” He used the Phase One XF Trichromatic IQ3 100MP with a tripod for most of the shots, except for a few handheld street shots, for which he used a Fujifilm GFX 50s.

If you liked this series, we also recommend checking out the noteworthy Blade Runner-inspired portrait series of Elizaveta Porodina, trippy neon wonderlands by Steve Roe, and neon double exposures by Christoffer Relander.

Visit Stefano Gardel’s website and Behance portfolio to see more of his beautiful photography.