Tolkien fans, this one's for you.
Photographer Akhil Suhas decided to document his venture across the magical (and dramatic) landscape of New Zealand in a fitting way: by incorporating the iconic silhouette of the “Lord of the Rings” wizard Gandalf in his pictures.
In shots of geothermal hot springs, snow-dusted peaks, and otherworldly meadowlands, the distinctive curve of Gandalf the Grey's pointed hat, billowing robes, and staff make a mark against the natural surroundings—and turn the natural into the fantastical.
J.R.R. Tolkien's classic series of hobbits, elves, evil, and the occasional human takes place in the mythical, magic-filled world of Middle Earth, of course. But the acclaimed trilogy of movies based on the books, directed by Peter Jackson and featuring legendary actor Ian McKellen as the powerful and benevolent Gandalf, used New Zealand's breathtaking natural environment as its backdrop for the adventures and misadventures of Frodo, Samwise, and gang.
Ever since, it's become a popular tourist destination as a Tolkien fan pilgrimage. So it only makes sense that Suhas would choose to re-create the movies' beautiful shots in his project.
Originally conceptualized as a series of self-portraits, Suhas ultimately ended up using willing strangers who would don the Gandalf costume he brought along on his journey, as he told PetaPixel.
“I started asking the people I met along the way if they wanted to put on the outfit,” he said, and many agreed to the stunt. “Who doesn't want to dress up as Gandalf?”
Take a peek into the adventure of #GandalftheGuide, as he deemed the project, on his Instagram.