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February 05

Reuben Wu's Dreamy Landscapes

By Ella Miista
We're talking to Reuben Wu, the photographer extraordinaire. Follow Reuben on Facebook / Instagram / Tumblr -- Doing our research we come across a lot of images that inspire us in one way or another. It could be beauty or oddity that we see in them or it could be the colours that excite us, but not many of those images compare to the work of Reuben Wu. Looking at his photographs isn’t finding inspiration - it’s more like discovering the place where inspiration lives. In 1999 Reuben Wu was a masters student in Liverpool, majoring in design. It was the year him and a friend started the band Ladytron. The new wave inspired electronic pop band got off to a good start and the group went to tour the world. Going to distant places like South America, Asia and Australasia, Reuben brought his dad’s old camera with him, and now, even after five studio albums and ten years of touring, he considers himself a visual artist as much as a musician. The combination of music and photography is at least in the beginning somewhat surprising - it’s not like crossing over from still image to moving, or from painting to photography or vice versa. But, the two obviously touch in film and video. ‘A lot of the videos I see today lack the audiovisual choreography that could happen,’ Wu explains from the perspective of someone comfortable in both worlds. 'One person does the visual and another does the music and neither of them completely understands the other,' he adds. He’s no stranger to combining the two - his latest commercial project was a combo of moving picture with tightly-synchronised sound design and music. Playing with different cameras and film rolls in his years of pursuing photography, he says with each different medium he’d take a different picture. ‘Each one lends itself to its own style,’ Wu says how both the camera and the film roll can influence the result. He goes on explaining how using film makes one think a bit more before taking the picture - what with the limited number of frames and all it just requires more of an understanding of what you’re doing - and how mastering a film camera means you can also master a digital one. It makes sense. When discussing his influences, he talks about the painters Frederic Edwin Church and Caspar David as artists that have affected his composition and lighting. Indeed the almost ethereal beauty of his landscapes has a similar aesthetic to their works. There's a certain dreaminess that flows through all of them. But, novelists JG Ballard and Philip K Dick also get a mention as their writing has inspired him in his themes and that also rings familiar - the pastel clouds and soothing views almost lie in an alternate universe that at times can be almost dystopian. Oh, and before we allow you to see the photos - we also asked Reuben what's the most played song on his playlist at the moment. This is what he sent us. Enjoy! tumblr_mywl0h4b4P1qm7xbco1_1280 tumblr_n0c957z5NK1qd8br9o1_1280.png Reuben_Wu_Torres_del_Paine_Patagonia-1-of-12 Reuben_Wu_Photography_Svalbard-1-of-22 Reuben_Wu_Atacama_Desert-12-of-16 His work is currently shown alongside Lynn Savile at the Schneider Gallery in Chicago, on until 1st of March.
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