Reuben Wu is as much an explorer as a photographer. Undeterred by wading through swamp, by precarious climb, access negotiation or long journey, he has been to places many have not heard of or would think of visiting. His choice of sites fuses unrehearsed serendipity with meticulous planning and a profound and acute sensitivity for the often crass co-existence of technology and nature. After discovery comes observation and interpretation, and many images read like an augmented documentary. The vast otherworldliness of Svalbard is captured through the amplification of both its natural phenomena and the incredible stillness and isolation. With a quality that borders on the magnetic, we are drawn in – yet somehow it is made absolutely clear that what we see is so utterly and latently remote.
Somewhere between 1970s concept album art, expeditionary imagery, and Surrealist painting is where Reuben Wu’s photographs steadfastly sit. His are pictures made in the real world, however, through collapsing time and merging processes, the real is transformed into the surreal, evoking a response simultaneously familiar and foreign. The photographs amplify the strangeness of place and speak to Wu’s individual experience within it.