Inspired by films like Blade Runner and Akira, photographer Stefano Gardel took to the streets of Osaka and Tokyo to create a narrative about a nostalgic, dystopian society. To shoot this series, titled Neon Future, Gardel found himself wandering the streets of these metropolises at night and used his camera to create a stark vision of the future. By mixing photos taken on rooftops with images shot from the street, Gradel builds a story where humans feel small and alone.
With its skyscrapers and neon lights, Japan makes a perfect setting for these cyberpunk photographs. The lack of human presence in Gardel’s photos makes each frame look like a film set just waiting to be filled with activity. This stripped-down look at the urban environment only adds to the ominous feeling that the photographer was after.
“I wanted to recreate the sense of longing and separation of a futuristic dystopia that has lost connection with the natural elements,” Gardel writes. “A vibrant but nostalgic mood aware of its own decadence.”
For the Italian photographer, who is based in Switzerland, the trip was a chance to execute his vision and pay tribute to cyberpunk culture. Using light and color to create a specific mood, he was easily able to create balanced compositions that are aesthetically pleasing and cohesive as a whole.