Photographs need not be static pieces of art, especially with all the new technology at hand. That’s exactly the spirit that has been embodied by landscape photographer Reuben Wu, who has taken his creations to the next level by incorporating augmented reality projection mapping into his artwork. As part of his project titled Lux Noctis that has been ongoing since 2016, Wu’s latest creation lights up a seemingly standard landscape photograph with beams of light shooting down on its peaks – thereby creating a dramatic, very retro sci-fi and potentially ominous ambience. What is for sure is that the entire setup is striking to see.
To create this augmented reality moving photograph named ‘An Electric Storm’, Wu shot the peak and surface terrain of a mountain, taking multiple shots along the way. As part of photographing this peak, Wu flew a lighting drone above various parts of the mountain, shooting down straight beams of light on to different parts of the peak’s side terrain. In the remastered, viewer form, the photograph is a bit of a hybrid – it’s somewhere between a photo and an animated GIF, which Wu created by fitting the frame of the photograph at his exhibition with an augmented reality (AR) projector.
This AR projector could then replicate the light beams that shoot down upon various parts of the peak, recreating an ambience that looks similar to how lightning strikes a mountain peak. Wu states “chiaroscuro painting, planetary exploration and science fiction” as his inspiration factors behind creating this photograph, all of which are fairly evident in this creation. He also states that the idea behind the project was to create fine art which resembles the experience of viewing a canvas with the naked eye, without using accessory glasses, gadgets or a screen that plays a video sequence.
The overall effect of the artwork’s final form, placed in the exhibition framework, is nothing short of magical. Aptly suited to the technically advanced format of the photograph, Wu auctioned ‘An Electric Storm’ as an NFT via Foundation, which fetched him 25 ETH, or about Rs 42.5 lakh in today’s crypto prices. It is likely one of the earlier innovations around how photographers may innovate their work, in order to create such immersive experiences.