“Visually, the story is about the natural world and repicturing what that means in the current climate.”

As our relationship with the natural world becomes increasingly uneasy, photographers are exploring ways to challenge our ideas of its inherent power and mystery.

Emerging from this is a trend we call “mutant nature,” the movement toward photographing the earth in a way that makes it look other-worldly.

Getty Images Senior Art Director Guy Merrill describes it as a way of visualizing nature’s ability to adapt and survive, and its capacity to surprise us.

“What will future landscapes look like? How will the natural world adapt and evolve in coming generations? How will the planet look when the human race has left it? These images are devoid of people,” Merrill says. “It’s all about nature and our relationship with it. Visually, the story is about the natural world and repicturing what that means in the current climate.”

Merrill, who is based in London, but works with photographers all over the world to create award-winning imagery, says this effect is achieved through various techniques, such as digital or darkroom manipulation, or in camera with lighting techniques and a different take on unusual landscapes.

These tweaks take something familiar and turn it into something alien and surreal, he says. Ordinary scenes are transformed into symbols of nature’s inherent strength, endurance and complexity, and familiar landscapes are rendered alien with supernatural colors and unusual juxtapositions.

“It’s quite a global creative trend,” Merrill says. “We’ve seen images come through from China, Australia, The Congo. Everyone’s seeing the effects of climate change, so photographers around the world are shooting these projects.”

Explore more images in the ‘mutant nature’ trend