Since I started writing about light painting in January, it seems like the trend has really picked up. Every few months, I have been able to search for examples of painting with light and find totally new (and exciting) results. The photographers – amateur and professional – out there seem to be upping their light painting game, as you can see in the following eleven examples.
1. Face Lit Up
Oh, hello, weird light face man whose eyes are looking in different directions! The person who made you did a really good job of creating a fun yet respect-demanding digital image. Obviously some fundamental artistic talent is being channeled into this photo. The face looks like Mick Jagger. I like it.
2. Tendrils of Light
One of the most unique light paintings I’ve seen, this image has a fluidity that causes the brain to confuse light for matter. It is neato. What makes it neato? Well, I think it’s mostly neato because the way the lines are painted makes the light seem like it has taken form and is alive.
3. Sphere of the Open Water
This looks like a great big ball of light. Therefore, it is awesome. What I can say that you don’t already know? If you like cool stuff, you like this. Let’s not overcomplicate things.
4. Pinwheel of Light at Night… All Right?
I do not understand how some light painters are able to create such perfect perforated light beams. But I like it. Light painting is able to create such perplexing images. How is one to feel about the image of a lonely self-circling disc of multi colored light? It’s a little sad. But also a lot of fun. That’s weird. And maybe that’s the particular weirdness of light paintings.
5. Or, Then Again, Maybe This Is the Particular Weirdness of Light Paintings
No, this is not the story of a young Bourbon Street performer who took a day off to take LSD in a light painter’s studio. This is just an example of taking painting with light to the next level. The metallic body paint makes the human subject part of the light painting canvas, as she becomes a source and receiver of light. This is pretty cool.
6. VROOM VROOM
At least, that’s what my two-year-old would call this photo. What a great idea to take a long exposure of a car and to keep it underexposed, knowing that the brightness of the light “paintbrush” would balance out the composition. I chose this example because it emblematizes the way light painting adds imagination to reality.
7. The Whole Light Paint Bucket
It’s important to remember that in light painting we have the paintbrush tool, yes, but we also have the paint bucket! If you’ve seen all my posts on the topic of painting with light, you might remember that the first examples I saw were applications in which large surfaces were “painted” with colored light, and the light source, or “paintbrush,” was not in frame. Since then, 90% of the examples I have given have shown the light source.
8. Glowing from Within: The Light Painting Story
I think that in its early stages, light painting was used often to create glows from places without light sources. So, a photographer could sneak into something like this truck in the middle of the black night and go completely unseen by the camera’s lens. She could scramble in that truck and pop off a couple flashes with gels (or colored cellophane sheets) and then sneak away. This is what the result would be. If you think about it, lighting painting in this manner – I’ll call it the Glow-From-Within technique – follows similar logic to cove lighting, in general. That is: Both create indirect light emanating from an unseen place, with unseen light sources. Both, therefore, have a calming, enchanting effect.
9. Nightscapes Awash with Light
It’s good to return to the roots of light painting: Washing landscapes in light during a long exposure. It creates an otherworldly ambiance that suggests that maybe, just maybe, there’s a little sorcery in the air at night, when most of us are sleeping. Sparking the imagination: That’s the function good light painting serves.
10. Sparking the Imagination
This is one of my favorites because of the way it creates kind of a three-fold juxtaposition between nature and society and technology. These layers of meaning make this the kind of art work that raises philosophical questions, for example, about the relationship between technology and increasingly mediated reality, of representation and actuality. Add this to the already rich display of the artist’s desire to connect with nature despite the obstacles presented by both land development and the distancing of humanity from reality through increasing reliance on representations, and you have a pretty thought-provoking light painting. Also, it looks cool.
First of all, if you don’t get the title’s reference, then don’t worry about it. It’s a video game thing. Second of all, if you have any kind of interest in photography but spend a lot of time working indoors, you’ve probably tried taking pictures of inanimate things around your office. (OK, so I’m talking about myself.) Chances are, you haven’t had much luck. The pics were probably more fun to take than to examine, and they have probably been long since lost in the black matter of erased data. In other words, the photos weren’t good. But this one happens to be really awesome. It’s fun and very cool looking. Hadukin! Hadukin to bad office still lifes! Hadukin to darkness! Ha. Du. Kin.