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orb flowers china night light

These cities from the Far East look incredible at night

There's something purely romantic about the western populous yearning to visit countries like Japan and South Korea. That yearning is an escape from the limitations of western civilization, to cities more beautiful than New York, as intensely beautiful as science fiction but tethered in the real and the now.

Some photographers have capitalized upon this eternal yearning, and have captured the artistic design of our neon-soaked cyberpunk contemporary world more clearly than any other medium. It's like old-school noir meets futurism, and it's incredible.

china street light neon Credit: Marcus Wendt

The far eastern countries of China, Japan and the Koreas seem on the tip of the utterly novel and new. Their ascendency has showed us that there exists a world outside of the west that may reach the future before we do.

Marcus Wendt, a jet-lagged insomniac in a foreign country, managed to capture this sensation in his photographs with insane clarity. His photo series, spectacularly titled Ultraviolet Break of Day, portrays modern China in images that challenge our collective imagination of the country. This photo in particular looks like a monolithic ark sitting in the center of a city square.

ark china cyberpunk city Credit: Marcus Wendt

This photo of Seoul, South Korea, captures the scale and scope of modern life before an alien-looking soccer field, lit like a moon sitting in the midst of a kingdom of modern day Towers of Babel.

Seoul lights city Credit: Marcus Wendt

A red archway looks less like a monument and more like the entrance to a spacecraft, the aforementioned ark sliding into the streets of Chinese cities.

red arch china Credit: Marcus Wendt

There's also Liam Wong, a member of the Forbes 30 under 30 list and an art director at Ubisoft, the massive game company behind Rayman, Prince of Persia, and Assassin's Creed. Wong picked up photography only very recently, but applying his art direction talent into the camera, he was able to become a master of the form.

All of his breathtaking photos are of Tokyo, and they highlight the strangeness, alienation, isolation, beauty and depth present in the city's nighttime landscapes. I think it's this very sense of beautiful alienation that captures capitalism, cyberpunk, the digital era and the late-night city feel all in one.

The photos are simply genius.

Japan Tokyo night neon Credit: Liam Wong

This photo captures the lonely vibe of a rainy night in Tokyo, surrounded by lights and advertisements. The umbrella is like an extension of individuality, a net shielding a single person from the onslaught of endless digital content. Without a spiritual umbrella to shield yourself from the overwhelming sea of all things happening all the time, you'll lose yourself. So you need an umbrella out there!

tokyo neon night umbrella alone Credit: Liam Wong

Lastly, this photo seems like a shot out of a Nicolas Winding Refn film, the director behind Drive, Only God Forgives, and The Neon Demon.

The red-tinted lanterns hanging above the alley and the lonely girl in a sweatshirt give a sense of purpose and beauty to the scene. The unnatural lighting is made normal by the baker taking a smoke break in the back alley, and the presence of the paper lanterns is reminiscent of stars, or cosmic entities, always hovering above the world and driving its motions.

tokyo lanterns night noir Credit: Liam Wong

You can check out more of Wong and Wednt's work on their respective websites; and in the meantime, you can consider your Chinese future to be a blessing, because the world will become more and more unrecognizable in the coming decade. In a century, we've discovered and modified our own genetic code. Our cities will come to reflect these changes as well.