ARTS & CULTURE

Yes, These Are Photographs Of Actual Caves And Icefalls On Planet Earth

04/24/2015 10:37 am ET | Updated Apr 24, 2015

Jagged fangs of rock candy. Puffy clouds of crystal. Rainbow rocks, slowly dripping. The following photographs seem to capture an alien planet, or perhaps a well-crafted amusement park. And yet, the fantastical rock piles and underground grottos are all found right here on planet Earth.

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Japanese photographer Hayato Wakabayashi captures these otherworldly caves and icefalls in a mesmerizing series, titled "Gravity." Wakabayashi began the project as a follow-up to an earlier series on volcanoes and typhoons. "I started to become interested in the slow and organic variations of nature," the artist explained to The Huffington Post. "I have always been fascinated with the imperceptible growth built from repeated elements in nature."

From the experience, one indisputable fact became clear: "Nothing can escape gravity."

Wakabayashi became obsessed with the unavoidable natural phenomenon by which all physical bodies are governed. He resolved to capture on film the most extreme, rare and beautiful manifestations of the earthly occurrence across the globe, those we're not often exposed to in daily life.

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Traveling through lone roads in the village of Minamimaki, Japan, and around coastal areas near Morioka, Japan, Wakabayashi discovered visual gems that put the stuff of National Geographic to some serious shame. "There is a natural order that exists outside our rationalized ideas," he writes on his website. "I show nature’s order by photographing these effects of gravity that we are not usually aware of in our daily lives."

"I am interested in what people do in their spare time; things that are outside their daily routines," Wakabayashi continued via email. Yet most of all, the photographer seems enthralled by the almighty power of Mother Nature. As he explained: "Nature does not have a free will. It exists as part of a universal order. Nature is the source of tremendous power, so it brings us both blessings and disasters. We follow gods or faiths in order to connect with its sublimity. We exist as a part of nature. I’d like to express the beauty and similarity there is between the two juxtapositions of humanity, and the sublimity of nature."

Also on HuffPost:

27 Amazing Natural Caves
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