Who would have thought that Tokyo could be turned into a city that looked as if it had stepped out of a science fiction film? In the past few decades, Japan's capital city has been used as the location in several cyberpunk fantasies for both local and international movies. It's a city brimming with stimuli and with the power to hypnotize anyone with its neon colors and constant stream of movement.
The flashing neon lights brighten the streets at night, and the dark, concrete floors become awash with swirling colors. Everywhere, the sound of screens, billboards, and the roaring movement of the crowds, can swallow up people and make anyone feel trapped. It's a city built on waves of energy and a galvanizing flow that could make any foreigner feel as if they were living in the future. Seizing these vibes, Scottish photographer Liam Wong has created digital images that not only convey the city's essence, but make it look even more dazzling and futuristic.
Even though most of his photographs are taken in a pretty straightforward documentary style, his work as an art director for videogames has given him an insight into creating pictures with luscious lighting and a precise palette that turns ordinary moments into reflections from a distant future. As he states in his official website, he captures real moments and transforms them into surreal ones. By capturing the most common moments of the urban nightlife, Wong creates a dark neon universe that feels more similar to the setting of Ghost in the Shell than to the one that will host the summer Olympics in 2020.
As he has previously stated, Wong fell in love with the Japanese capital during his first visit, while being on tour with Ubisoft to promote game he had worked in. One day, while getting caught up in the rain, he was swept him off his feet by the striking vibrancy of the city, making him feel as if he were living within the world that Syd Mead created for Ridley Scott's Blade Runner.
Awed by Tokyo's beauty, Wong made his first venture into the realm of photography by creating a picture diary of the city's night life, emulating the rush of sensations he felt during those moments when he got lost in the visual frenzy of its streets and alleys.
Waiting till the clock struck midnight, Wong wandered through the most luscious and vibrating boroughs of the city, capturing the frenetic Shibuya crossing, the neon jazziness of Shinjuku, and the glowing colors of the geek district of Akihabara. Yet, after taking the pictures, he would digitally alter them to create a shadier and gloomier version of the city. To create this cyberpunk edge, he played with contrasts and colors, and so we see the steely purple blending with the blinding emerald lights.
By transforming every corner of the city into a lush cyberpunk setting we too become overwhelmed by its beauty and mystery.
You can see more of Liam's work on his website and Instagram (@liamwon9)
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