An alien planet here on Earth

By Elie Gordon

Landscape photographer Andrew Studer shows us our planet in a new otherworldly light.

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Oregon-based landscape photographer Andrew Studer has found a way to send us to space without the need of a rocket.

In his latest photo series, Space to Roam, Studer shows off the otherworldly beauty of the American Southwest with the help of an 'astronaut' explorer. We spoke to him about his stunning new project.

Kyle Hague stands on a mountain in the American Southwest
Space to Roam. © Andrew Studer

What was the inspiration for Space to Roam?

I’ve been fortunate enough to be doing photography and video full time for the past four years, but my love for capturing nature and the beautiful world we live in has been a strong passion of mine since I was in high school in 2012.

Space to Roam is a photo and video project inspired by all the dramatic and dynamic landscapes of the American Southwest. After several visits to the desert, I began to have an immense appreciation for all the unique places that made me feel like I was visiting an alien planet.

I wanted to produce something that directly conveyed how I felt about being in these ‘otherworldly’ locations so I purchased an astronaut suit that I found online and went out to the American Southwest for a couple days with my good friend, and ‘astronaut’, Kyle Hague.

Andrew Studer and Kyle Hague stand on a moon-like mountain in the American Southwest
Andrew Studer and friend Kyle Hague in the American Southwest. © Andrew Studer

How did you come up with the concept?

I’ve always been fascinated with the concept of creating visuals on other planets. I like to think that in the future, people like me will be on other planets creating imagery of completely new worlds. While it’s unlikely I’ll ever be able to experience this first-hand, landscapes that appear to be from another planet do in fact exist here on Earth.

Kyle Hague walk across a moon-like mountain in the American Southwest
Walking in space. © Andrew Studer

What is the significance of the space man?

My intentions with Space to Roam weren’t necessarily to focus on the astronaut, but rather the unique formations, patterns and textures of the unique landscapes we visited. While the space man is a subject in the film, he’s really just a way to draw a connection for the viewer and help them realise these unique and seemingly otherworldly places do in fact exist here on Earth.

Kyle Hague stands on a moon-like mountain in the American Southwest
An astronaut in the blue. © Andrew Studer

Do you have any plans for a follow-up series?

I’m hoping that this is just the first of many new editions of Space To Roam. I feel like there are so many other incredible locations around the world that align perfectly with the ‘otherworldly’ theme. I sincerely hope that viewers of my project have a new sense of admiration and respect for the wonderful earth we live in and that they are inspired to help protect it.

Kyle Hague stands in a rocky area in the American Southwest that resembles Mars
Earth or Mars? © Andrew Studer

Featured image © Andrew Studer