Reuben Wu’s photography reminisces not just on its subject, but also its point in time and place. With traces of light captured mid drone flight, the camera sensor logs these halos lingering over transformed landscapes. His technical use of time lapse, with accent lighting from an alternative light source illuminates his landscapes, turning them into portraits of the natural monuments. What was once banal becomes new and even alien in appearance. The lasting impression of his photography is just one reason why we were excited to learn more about the artist behind the camera in this month’s Artist Spotlight.
When did you first start working with us?
In 2013, I had just moved to the USA from London and had started an artist residency at Latitude in Chicago. I worked with Lamin-8 Services, Seaberg Picture Framing’s partner within Artmill Group, when I had my first exhibition in Chicago at Schneider Gallery. After Lamin-8 merged with Seaberg, I began working with them as my mounting and framing partner for my private sales.
What is the scope of framing with which Seaberg has helped?
My work is generally framed in two ways: framed with glass and framed without glass with a matte laminate film applied to the surface of the photo. I usually have Seaberg take over after delivering them my print and they will mount and frame the pieces as well as coordinate shipping.
What drew you toward becoming an artist? What kept you going?
The excitement of seeing, doing, and creating new things and being able to document that experience through photography. The more work I do, the more energized I am to keep going.
How would you describe your work? How has your art evolved?
My work is primarily landscape, but I apply my practice to video, portraiture, music, and commercial projects as well.
My goal is to show familiar subjects in an unfamiliar light because it makes you look more closely in this age of short attention spans. The use of technology features largely in my projects and I am interested in using it to expand my vision sometimes in ways it wasn’t designed for. I think my workflow has streamlined from a very complicated and experimental phase to a simpler system that allows me to focus on the picture I want to make rather than exploring a medium.
What can you tell us about your current projects?
Lux Noctis is an ongoing project about unfamiliar light which allows me to articulate and experience landscapes in a new way. One of the things that drew me to this was the overwhelming flood of cliché landscape photography that does the opposite of what it intended. Rather than making me want to go to see these places they were making me uninterested and, I think as a result, many people have stopped appreciating the value of our natural landscapes. This project, where I use drones as lighting, allows me to explore and experience these places as if I was seeing them for the first time. Since I first shared the work it has been widely publicized and the book I made in 2018 has been added to the archives of the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Describe any unique past projects that you previously showcased and how they were framed and mounted with the assistance of Seaberg.
I recently had five framed pieces showcased at Photo L.A. 2019. Seaberg and Lamin-8 did all the matte laminating, mounting, framing, and coordinated shipping to their final address.
Keep making more stuff.
What advice would you give to aspiring artists?
Experiment with everything. Think about what makes you different and embrace it, even if it’s uncomfortable.