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Reuben Wu & National Geographic explore Stonehenge!

photo-eye Gallery Reuben Wu & National Geographic explore Stonehenge Jovi Esquivel, Anne Kelly Reuben Wu featured on the cover of National Geographic's August 2022 iussue, "Stonehenge Revealed"

Footage: Reuben Wu, National Geographic; Animation: Rebekah Barlas, National Geographic

As a new team member here at photo-eye, I am in a constant state of awe over the work I have the opportunity to interact with while I’m in the gallery, and feel honored to meet the artists we work with. 

photo-eye's relationship with Reuben Wu began in January 2019. That same year we mounted a solo exhibition Aeroglyphs & Other Nocturnes here in Santa Fe and featured his work in our booth at Photo L.A. and The Photography Show presented by AIPAD in New York. As I learn about the incredible artists we represent, my favorite way to prepare for a blog post is to dig up all the content the gallery has created in the past, and go through the artist's website and social media. Seeing an artist's process excites me and I LOVE finding behind-the-scenes content! For example, the photo-eye blog introduced the portfolio Field of Infinity, and in that post, we shared several photographs from the series alongside Wu's sketches and planning notes, and a video of Wu's process in Bolivia. I've linked that post and a couple interviews with Wu below.

Wu is a renaissance man to say the least. Prior to his fine art career, Wu established a music career as a violinist, keyboardist, DJ, and music producer for the popular electronic band Ladytron. In recent years Wu was selected to be an ambassador for Phase One cameras and has become very well known in NFT spaces, among other significant accomplishments.

A glance over my desk is greeted by LN 0377, from the series Lux Noctis by Reuben Wu, so, when we first learned about Wu's forthcoming National Geographic feature, we were thrilled for him. Although we wouldn't have predicted the exact set of circumstances, we were also not entirely surprised.

For the August issue of National Geographic, "Stonehenge Revealed", Reuben Wu was tasked with photographing the iconic archaeological site at Stonehenge. The 40-page story includes images by Wu, covers how new technology is helping archeologists solve the mysteries of the origin of Stonehenge, and also looks into the unique challenges that face the ancient monument in modern times. 
“As one of the most photographed landmarks in the world, I knew I needed to show Stonehenge in a way it has never been seen before. In this 25 multiple exposure time-lapse and image, the massive stones are lit from above by a powerful light, attached to a drone. With this kind of lighting, I was able to bring a new, unfamiliar atmosphere to the monument, one that felt timeless, and spoke to the potency and ancient lore of the site.”  — Reuben Wu


Reuben Wu uses man-made lights attached to drones to illuminate monumental landscapes found in locations spread across the world, in gestures that parallel both the ancient symbols of petroglyphs and the explorations of the land art movement in the 1970s. He uses contemporary technology to interact with the landscape in a way that flows in continuity with the eternal human impulse to document our presence. Wu’s approach, however, is ephemeral and leaves no lasting detrimental effect on the land. The photograph becomes a lasting mark. And for Wu, the actual symbols drawn in the air by the drones have no specific meaning in and of themselves. The work is more about pointing to that sense of compressed time, using light and long-exposure photography to mark and record a transitory human presence in the landscape, inviting viewers to think about humanity’s place in the vastness of our planet’s history.

Below, you’ll find the link to the interview between NatGeo and Wu that explores the artist's process on-site and includes some behind-the-scenes videos.

>>>How the spirit of ancient Stonehenge was captured with a 21st-century drone<<

Sunset brings peace but not quiet at Stonehenge, which is bordered by a busy highway. "One thing that was jarring, even at night, was the constant noise of nearby traffic," says photographer Reuben Wu, "I found myself imagining how the place would have felt thousands of years ago." (Reuben Wu/National Geographic; image made with 13 layered exposures)

One of the world's iconic monuments, Stonehenge has been studied for centuries. Yet new technologies, says archaeologist Vince Gaffney, are "transforming our understanding of ancient landscapes – Even Stonehenge, a place we thought we knew well." (Reuben Wu/ National Geographic; image made with 11 layered exposures)

A sprawling ceremonial complex in its day, Stanton Drew boasted timber circles, two avenues of standing stones leading to the nearby River Chew, and one of the largest stone rings in Britain, some 370 feet in diameter. Today 26 stones remain, and ground-penetrating radar has revealed nine rings of timber posts. (Reuben Wu/National Geographic; image made with 18 layered exposures)

Discovered in 1925 from aerial photographs of a wheat field, Woodhenge included six concentric rings of towering timbers, their locations now marked by concrete pillars. Like nearby Stonehenge, the structure was built to align with the rising sun on the summer solstice. (Reuben Wu/National Geographic; image made with 5 layered exposures)

Stonehenge's saga begins in the craggy hills of Wales, where geologists have pinpointed Carn Goedog and nearby outcrops as the source of most of the monument's bluestones. Why the builders hauled two-ton stones 175 miles to Salisbury Plain has inspired many theories but few rock-solid answers. (Reuben Wu/National Geographic; image made with 15 layered exposures)

Reuben Wu, National Geographic

>For more on this story, visit National Geographic's "Stonehenge Revealed"<

Thank you, Reuben, and congratulations on your first cover story!

photo-eye Gallery is proud to represent Reuben Wu.

For more information, and to purchase prints from Reuben Wu,
please contact Gallery Director Anne Kelly or Gallery Associate Jovi Esquivel,
 you may also call us at (505) 988-5152 x202