KwaZulu-Natal is one of South Africa’s most ecologically diverse provinces, with sundrenched beaches, misty mountains, lush wetlands and acacia savannah. It is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: iSimangaliso Wetland Park and the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park. In the following pages, Elsa Bleda (b. 1988) turns her gaze skywards, capturing lightning as it strikes tumultuous clouds. Each photograph was taken at midnight, and later post-produced with rich blues, pinks and purples. The result is otherworldly and nature’s power radiates from every page. You can almost hear the thunder crack. The series, titled Heavens, is an extension of Bleda’s main body of work, Nightscapes, in which she captures South African inner cities after dark. Those pictures are Blade Runner-esque, drawing on neon cyberpunk and “post-future gothic.” Bleda’s evocative approach has resulted in collaborations with Adidas, Apple, Lexus, Red Bull and WeTransfer, to name a few.
All images courtesy Elsa Bleda.