It’s been decades since man first set foot on the Moon and sparked the imagination of many about exploring worlds far out from our own. Since then, space exploration continued to be a potent source of ideas for creatives of all kinds. We’ve seen photographers create alien landscapes out of techniques like infrared photography and surreal color palettes.

Then, there are photographers like Vienna-based David Schermann, who explore the human side of this curiosity. In his short series titled “The Lonely Cosmonaut,” we see him depict his titular character in a whimsical and surreal style, as if encouraging us to imagine what space exploration could bring to mankind.

The “lonely cosmonaut and signs of alien life

Most of us typically associate creative depictions of space stuff as the realm of science fiction films and some literature. So I find it refreshing to see photographers explore the theme through conceptual photography. Schermann’s series is particularly interesting to me because he puts the emphasis on the symbolisms we can tie to man’s discoveries in lands both strange and distant.

I particularly love how his imaginary cosmonaut seems to be paired mostly with elements associated to life: plants, flowers and maybe even some breathable air. Could he have found life in another planet? A second earth, perhaps? The simple, muted color palette he chose for this series is particularly notable too, as it made his visual narrative more moody and emotive.

As an ardent fan of all things space, this is definitely one of my favorite conceptual portrait projects to date.

Space exploration as an exciting theme for photographers

A quick peek at Schermann’s portfolio tells us that “Lonely Cosmonaut” is strikingly different from his other works. While he has some simulated infrared sets and a more straightforward space exploration series (that’s for another story), I think this conceptual collection is evidently the most symbolic of them all.

I also think that this series tells us that space exploration is such an exciting and inspiring theme for creatives to dive into. We’re now at such an interesting time for astronomy, closer than ever to discovering worlds like our own. Maybe even find more clues to answer if there’s life outside our tiny spot in the vastness of the universe. That should effectively encourage photographers to come up with their own take on what could be waiting out there for us.

If you enjoyed this short series, make sure to visit David Schermann’s website and Behance portfolio to see more of his work.

All photos by David Schermann. Used with permission.