The artist Reuben Wu uses drones to light up Utah’s otherworldly landscapes

Liverpool-born and Chicago-based photographer, director, and music producer Reuben Wu is back with a brand-new emotionally charged, electrifying, and tactile series of photos titled “Light Storm”. Recognized for capturing alien-looking landscapes, which he lights up Utah's otherworldly landscapes using drones, Wu has traveled this time to peaceful areas in Bolivia, Nevada’s SolarReserve, and the rivers of molten sulfur streaming in Indonesian volcanoes to capture the natural magnificence of the Earth’s outmost layer.  In each place, Wu highlights the land’s charm by juxtaposing the natural features with artificial light cast by drones flying overhead. The resulting images, of which Wu boasts an abundant and diverse collection, utilize lit up geometric shapes to highlight specific features. The newest series brought him to the rocky landscapes of Utah and New Mexico - the photographer does not reveal specifics due to the fragility of the environment. Here, the hovering instruments lighten up the stripes and crevices embedded within the stone accumulations. Like his 2018 series that detailed the melting Pastoruri Glacier in Peru, Light Storm plays a very similar function.

“I seemed to like it was an effort to file and maintain the memory of a landscape in peril,” he told Colossal.

Determined about leaving no trace on the locations he visits, Wu’s method enables him to preserve a distance from his rugged subject while establishing the conditions required for such accurate shots. He describes:

Instead of the old photographers’ adage of waiting for the right moment, I’m literally creating it from my position behind the camera. It also allows me to have more creative ownership over a photograph of a landscape. Something I’ve been struggling with as a photographer/artist is the idea that a beautiful landscape is doing all the work for me, so this was an opportunity to have more artistic control finally.

In general, Wu writes, “the project is about presenting familiar sights in a new and unfamiliar light, renewing your sense of seeing and the experience of discovery.” Prints of his topographical images are readily available in his store, and you can discover more of his work on Instagram, Twitter, and Behance.