These Aerial Photographs Document Early Stages of Planetary Colonisation

“One of the essential questions that will drive humanity in the future: What comes after our existence on Planet Earth?”
– Johannes Heuckeroth


What comes after our existence on Earth is a question photographer Johannes Heuckeroth has spent so long thinking about that he’s begun to focus on it in his photography. His series entitled Red Planet provides one possible answer.

Phase One: Exploration, the German photographer and designer Johannes charts the initial foray into the surreal world of a planet within our own solar system. Johannes’s aerial photographs (actually taken over Asia) transform barren land, red valleys and jagged terrain into his own fantasy planet. He asks his audience the question: Could you imagine living in a world like this?


“What remains unclear is the variety of landscapes that can be found on this planet. While first explorations only showed dusty and red coloured landscapes, there might be more to be experienced…”
– Johannes Heuckeroth


Phase Two: Colonization shows the beginning of humans establishing base. The subtle details within his photos show farmlands, unnatural trails and winding roads.

We sat down with Johannes to learn about where he got his inspiration for the series.

The PLUS: Tell us a bit more about yourself.
Johannes Heuckeroth:
I am a designer and photographer from Germany. Searching for beauty and creating visual uniqueness is what drives my photographic work.


TP: How did the idea come about for the series?
I was always fascinated by space and science fiction stories about journeys to other planets. Sometimes I think about how it would be to travel through space and taking photographs on another planet. Being realistic it will be not possible for me to do this during my life time, I am just born too early I think. But when you look at our own planet, you can recognise that there are landscapes that are truly special in a visual way and could be located in another world. So I started to think, what if?

TP: Can you tell us the process behind these images? Where did you take the photographs?
It all started on a plane. I was on my way to Shanghai and as always I had a window seat, because I can’t get enough of aerial views. This time the plane flew over some unbelievable landscape in Asia and I couldn’t stop taking photographs. It makes me really happy to experience such beauty. The same thing happened on the flight back to Europe and I started to wonder what if I create a little story around these images?


TP: What would life be like living in this type of landscape, in your opinion? Would you like it?
If you lived in an environment like this you should be really dedicated to something, because it does not look like a place for a holiday. You need to have a good reason to be there. Like being a scientist who is stationed in Antarctica for six months. Or an astronaut who sacrifices years of his life for a trip to mars. I really can’t say if I would like such an experience. If it would contain the possiblity to take pictures that no one ever has taken before then maybe!

TP: You’ve taken a lot of photographs of the pinnacle of the built environment as an architectural photographer, with cities like NYC and Shanghai. What attracts you to the opposite?
It’s not really the opposite for me, because both worlds are united by one thing: beauty. One is man-made, one made by nature. I really like to jump between the two worlds. Recently I visited Hong Kong, where these two worlds are concentrated into one unique experience. Skyscrapers besides green mountains. Fascinating!


TP: What’s Phase Three going to be?
Until now I only showed some of the desert landscapes this planet has to offer. Let’s see if there can be found landscapes with another visual character.

TP: On a more down to Earth note, what are you most looking forward to this year?
The last two years I took kind of an intermission in creating content. This year marks a new phase for my work. I am working on some series from Hong Kong and I am excited to share my views on this city with the world.