These Photographs Chart New Territory between Photographic Landscapes and Visual Art

Is there life beyond Earth? It’s a question you might think is by now a little clichéd – one which immediately calls to mind popular science books, novels and sci-fi movies. But according to photographer and artist from Monterrey, Mexico, Nydia Lilian, it is not one we should dismiss. Her ongoing series OUTSIDERS marks her intervention into the field.


“They’re already here” is the only text which accompanies Nydia’s OUTSIDERS series, a photographic tale of extraordinary activity taking place around our planet. Or so it seems. The photographer draws on her years as a visual artist by manipulating her landscapes herself with Photoshop.

Nydia’s images take you on a tour of Earth’s natural landscape through a different lens, one which combines image manipulation and escapist tendencies and reminds you of the importance of innocent questions about reality.


We had a down-to-Earth chat with the photographer about her work.

THE PLUS: What’s the concept behind this series?
Nydia Lilian:
I usually explore the creation of alternative realities in my work. Lately, it has science-fiction concepts like the end of the world, surreal psychedelic visuals or a kind of epic realism. It may also refer to Anthropocene, and how we humans have done irreversible changes in nature. There is some presence in the landscapes, but we don’t know for sure what’s happening. At first glimpse, it can be an apparent attack on our planet or a natural catastrophe; there are many possibilities, likely it’s a self-restore stage of the earth. Or nature itself is defending itself against something? It may be even glitches of other realities.


TP: “They’re already here”. Who are they?
Something we don’t know, or they do not even appear in physical form; perhaps there is no “they” at all.  It’s for you to decide.

TP: Do you believe there’s life beyond earth?
I like to think there’s something more. So, yes!


TP: Where were these photographs taken?
From many places like Iceland, Canada, The Grand Canyon, Montreal and Monterrey in México.

TP: How did you create the traces of the outsiders themselves in the photographs?
I created them with digital art in Photoshop. There was a lot of testing behind doing this irregular waves and playing with the environment from the landscape itself. It was really fun to do it. In some of the pictures, I worked directly on Camera Raw and didn’t alter any pixels at all. Imagination (which often involves creating from nothing) and photography (which often involves documenting what’s already there) seem in some ways to be in opposition to each other. How do the two relate to each other in your work.


But if we speak about the style, is a bit more than the technical part of it; I have always been a daydreamer and imagined things to create with graphic arts. As much as I enjoy the realism of documenting landscapes, I also love to leave a trace of my individual or emotional post-production style there…. In the end, I use all the technical stuff I know to reproduce the idea I want to transmit. Sometimes is purist photography and sometimes with a lot of digital art. 


TP: What can we expect from your next series?
This year I have been producing a lot of new things that I don’t know how it will end lol… I experimented with photography prints and painted as an organic intervention; I also started creating clay models of landscapes I imagined from scratch, the idea it’s to photograph them, but I’m still in the discovery process, I hope something good comes out from all this.