Paris-based photographer Julien Mauve has created a new series of photographs that imagines our first steps on the red planet. In 1492, Christopher Colombus discovered America. Less than 500 years later, it has become a common touristic destination for wealthy people from every part of the world. What remains of the Wild West has now been transformed into National Park where people can quietly enjoy breathtaking landscapes.


Unknown worlds are now located far from Earth and our most famous explorer is a robot. “Curiosity” is the Christopher Colombus of our century, crawling the surface of Mars, searching for clues and informations about its past. As with the Wild West, we could imagine a point where Mars would become a touristic destination for people to visit and experience. NASA and SpaceX are already working on it and it is obvious that in less than 50 years, humans will walk on Mars.


“I have always wondered what it would be like to discover a totally different world, lifeless, full of wild landscapes and to photograph it for the first time as if I was Ansel Adams” explain Julien. “So I came up with this project, which is about space exploration and discovery. But it’s also about our behavior in front of landscapes and how we create pictures that will share our personal story with the world.”


In every spots he stopped, carefully chosen for their similarities with the red planet, Julien imitated stereotypical tourist poses. It’s interesting to observe the way we act in front of the camera, how we include ourselves in the landscapes, how those landscapes trigger the desire to affirm our presence. And how the way we take pictures exposes the vanity involved in our endless pursuit of self-definition.

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all images © Julien Mauve