The Off-World wasn’t just revived on the big screen when Blade Runner 2049 was shown in cinemas last year, the movie also inspired countless of artists to replicate and reimagine the present through a futuristic dystopian lens.
Photojournalist Tristan Tamayo plays with light and color, transforming the busiest city streets into a picturesque setting worthy of being part of a cinematic reel. His works—all chronicled in his Instagram account—are characterized by vibrant motion and deference to space. The sci-fi influences can be felt with each post.
The gothic dimness of each of his photos is just as alluring as his focus on light. He likes to think that his work, which he calls the Neocities Series, is ultimately part of the cyberpunk culture—a subgenre of science fiction that usually focuses on the divide of classes, combining narrative elements that dwell on poverty mixed with high-end technology.
“I started doing my Neocities project back in August 2017 after I got back from my trip in Korea,” Tristan shares.
“The word Neo comes from greek word Neos, which means new or revived form of. So the goal is to recreate or make my own take on these iconic cities the way my imagination sees it. I think it's all about playing with color and visualizing a certain scene as if it was taken from a movie." His inspirations obviously reference Japanese anime and futuristic flicks such as Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell.
“These movies," he explains, "tell us what life could be like living in the future. I like to imagine that the environment of the future would probably be full of neon lights and wild urban designs. That would be sick—but hopefully not in a Black Mirror kind of sense.”
Tristan’s ultimate goal with this project is to tell stories, imbuing even more meaning to the images his lenses are able to capture.
We know how much you’d love to experiment with your street photography, so we asked Tristan the basics of creating sick, cyberpunk-inspired photos for you to show off on the 'gram:
What elements make up a cyberpunk-inspired photograph?
I don't think there is a rule or boundary for a photo to be considered cyberpunk because every photographer has their own interpretation of what that means for them. In my case, as long as I feel that I’ve achieved a futuristic vibe, wild colors, and a compelling urban story with the photo, I can consider it as cyberpunk.
Can you tell us more about the process behind your work?
It just comes naturally. As long as I see something that catches my eye, I shoot. Then I try and visualize it as a part of a movie. For the post processing, it really depends on what kind of feeling I want to evoke. Do I want it to be more bluish? Purple or red? It really depends on my mood and the mood I want to show in the photos.
Where are the best spots to get cyberpunk-inspired photographs?
Inside a busy city. That works for me. Urban photography has been a great inspiration for my photo and my art, so I think shooting in these places makes me feel at home. At first, I was planning on doing this series only for Japan since I'm obsessed with their cities. But since I’ve been to different places, I thought I might as well include them. So far I have five cities in my project: Manila, Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul, and Tokyo.
Do you think this style is limited to street photography?
No, of course not! The good thing about the cyberpunk genre is that we can have our own interpretation of it, depending on our tastes. Just go and shoot! Anything can be beautiful as long as you define the feel of the images and story you want to tell.
Follow @tamayotristan on Instagram.