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Reuben Wu, the Photographer of One Gorgeous, Multi-Textured Planet


Humans don’t belong in the spaces that Wu photographs, although they did once. His collection captures the most beautiful and terrifying extreme places in the world.

Reuben Wu is a musician and a photographer from Liverpool, England. His visual work is mainly concerned with landscapes presenting some sign of humanity, which have in some way been touched by history or forgotten history. Abandoned by change, their structures and objects become the main characters in his photographs.

In some of his series, for example Última esperanzaAtacama Desert and Atlantic Wall, Wu employs Aerochrome, an infrared film that was used during the Cold War and that has been discontinued for some time now. It was used as a recon tool, showing foliage in pink and red hues thus highlighting camouflage in blues and purples. Wu plays with this contrast to introduce an element of pop fantasy within the solemnity of a snowy landscape, or in the severity of abandoned nuclear sites.


Melancholic bomb tunnels, observatories, abandoned structures, atomic weapons, nuclear energy warehouses, laboratories, aurora borealis, strong or acoustic walls from the Second World War are but some subjects we can find in his photographs. During an interview with The Island ReviewWu said:

A lot of my visual inspiration comes from those stories and the themes of ruin, decay and time run through a lot of them. I think abandoned buildings separate themselves from their original purpose of existence by the path of time. They signify that everything will come to an end, and we only have a short time to look around before we die.

Hitler once told Albert Speer to design his buildings in a way that they would make ‘good ruins’. It’s totally bizarre and terrifying to consider any building in use now as a future ruin.

His photographs are astounding, even when we see them in a digital format they possess a quality of physical objects: textures, margins and small but fortuitous lighting accidents. Each one of these portrays more than the landscape and the object, instead they represent the specter that belongs to each of them.



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