What better way to explore the far reaches of New Zealand … uhh, I mean Middle Earth… than with Tolkien’s Gandalf as your guide? That’s what photographer Akhil Suhas was thinking when, while planning his 6-month trip across the country after university, he packed a Gandalf costume… just for fun.
“I wanted a recurring subject in my photos and with so many photographers visiting the country, I figured that I needed to do something to set me apart!” Akhil tells PetaPixel. “I was watching the LOTR for the 5th time when I figured New Zealand is famous for 2 things: its landscapes and the LOTR + Hobbit Trilogies. So why not combine the two by having Gandalf in the landscapes?”
It took him 2 months to hunt down an appropriately accurate costume, but before long, he was on his way—15,000km with both camera and a Gandalf costume at the ready.
At first, the idea was to create self-portraits, but it didn’t take long for Akhil to realize that this was a lot harder than it sounded.
“I tried the camera on a tripod with a timer shot, didn’t work for me,” he said over email. “So, I started asking the people I met along the way if they wanted to put on the outfit.”
Surprisingly, man “gladly said yes” because, in Akhil’s words, “who doesn’t want to dress up as Gandalf!?” That’s how a “silly” idea turned into a beautiful small-person-big-landscape tour of New Zealand… Darn It! I mean Middle Earth.
Have a look for yourself:
If you enjoy the series and want to see more, check out Akhil’s Instagram account or Facebook Page. And the next time you’re planning a trip across some beautiful landscape… don’t forget the wizard robes.
Image credits: All photographs by Akhil Suhas and used with permission.