The transforming power of drone lighting in remote landscapes
Reuben Wu, a highly acclaimed British visual artist now based in Chicago, has captivated audiences worldwide with his magnificent drone-lit imagery of remote and wild landscapes. Drawing inspiration from science-fiction films and his own introspective nature, Wu's work beautifully combines light and landscape to create surreal and mesmerizing compositions. From the vast salt flats of Bolivia to the majestic Grand Canyon, Wu's lens captures the essence of these extraordinary settings. Wu's artistic journey began after taking a break from his successful music career with the synth-pop band Ladytron. He immersed himself in the world of photography, passionately exploring the enchanting landscapes of the American West. Guided by an insatiable quest for solitude and alien inspiration, Wu discovered the transformative potential of drone lighting during an automotive shoot. By strategically illuminating portions of the scene with specially crafted consumer drones, Wu adds a mystical touch to his compositions. Be it a radiant line hanging above a glacier or perfectly straight strikes of light simulating an electrical storm, Wu's images evoke a sense of awe and wonder. His groundbreaking 2018 photo book, "Lux Noctis," has earned a place in prestigious collections like the Guggenheim and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Wu's extraordinary talent extends beyond the realm of fine art. He has lent his creative vision to commercial projects for renowned brands such as Apple, Audi, Google, and music producer Zedd. His reputation reached new heights when he unveiled a monumental project for National Geographic, featuring Stonehenge in a captivating cover story and timelapse multimedia piece. The advent of NFT art in early 2021 provided Wu with an opportunity to delve further into his passion. By minting his first non-fungible token on the Foundation marketplace, he solidified his status as a leading artist in the digital realm. Not only did Wu's art find a more substantial platform, but he also contributed to causes close to his heart, donating a portion of the proceeds to the National Parks Conservation Association and the AAPI Community Fund. However, Wu's creative exploration doesn't stop at static images. Eager to incorporate motion and music into his work, he began creating mesmerizing video loops from his drone-lit captures. These captivating 15-second films synchronize with his own atmospheric electronic music, forming a truly immersive experience for viewers. While Wu's artistic journey has been extraordinary, it has not been without its challenges. As he embarked on his earliest drone adventures, he faced the limitations of nascent technology, with drones lasting only a few minutes in flight. Despite technical constraints, Wu fearlessly pushed boundaries, revealing the hidden beauty of cliffs and unreachable areas through his skillful illumination. Today, with improved drone technology and careful planning, Wu has honed his craft, continuing to push the boundaries of creative expression. His experimental spirit and boundless imagination lead him to develop captivating series like "Lux Noctis" and "Aeroglyphs." These evocative works explore ghostly lighting and geometric shapes, showcasing Wu's multifaceted artistic brilliance. As Wu's work evolves and captivates audiences worldwide, he seeks to inspire others to perceive our planet in new and extraordinary ways. Breaking away from traditional perspectives, Wu's art invites us to recognize the otherworldly qualities of our own natural surroundings. Through his lens, he reveals a captivating truth: that our world holds endless awe and wonder, waiting to be discovered and cherished.
“Amidst the challenges and triumphs, Wu's art stands as a testament to the transformative power of creativity and the boundless beauty of our world," says renowned art critic Emma Sawyer. "Through his exceptional drone-lit compositions, Wu redefines our perception, inviting us to embark on a journey of introspection and awe.”
"A lot of people always say that my work is otherworldly — that is the first word that people think of when they think about my work," Wu explained. "But I’m not trying to create an alien-looking image; I’m trying to show that this is our planet. And there are so many new ways that are available to see it that can renew your perspective."