Although extremely technical, light painting is all about trusting your imagination, experimenting and taking risks with light, movement and emotion. I am much more interested in the magic of the performance than in the actual procedure, and that’s why I love this poetic collection of images and thoughts by LA-based photographer 2wenty as he recalls his creative progression.
1) I was at home with a girl, she was sleeping and I was at the computer. It was around midnight. I had an idea for a new light that I wanted to make. My favorite photos usually come from trying out a new light I made or experimenting with a few formats. By the time I had made it and drove out to my favorite spot it was around 2 am. This was one of the first photos I did that night. I just stood there looking at the view finder with the biggest smile on my face. This is definitely one of my favorites…
2) This is from the same night as the photo above. Thinking about how my photos were coming out and how well my friends were doing with their art I felt compelled to write this. I think I even recall texting Gregory Siff the same quote right before I did it…
3) I was at a friend’s house in the Hollywood hills with Greg and I was showing people how I do my thing – and this is one of the photos that came out it. The best shots always come out of having a good time. The piece is titled “Down the Rabbit Hole”. Essentially falling into the Hollywood hole.
4) I had been having a rough time. It had been a week since I was out of the hospital for blacking out a bunch of time and hitting my head a few of those times. I was feeling horrible (still not quite right even now) and I knew that shooting was the only thing that would make me feel better. As I walked down these stairs the framing of the shot was stuck in my head. I went down the way and took photos for about an hour. The entire time this shot was calling out to me. As I was leaving I set the camera up, did my thing, and when the shot clicked off my jaw dropped. I was blow away. This photos is barely even edited. I only pull down the highlights that get blown out. This is how all these shots look out of the camera.
5) Another night at my favorite spot. It was probably around 2am. It was this guy riding his bicycle and I was thinking wtf. This is in the middle of nowhere. If he were to get hurt that might be it for him. Then I got thinking I was essentially doing the same thing. We were both doing what we loved so much that the danger didn’t matter. So I titled this piece “As I brave the world alone.”
6) I had never light painted anyone else. I had nothing to go off of, no ideas in my head of what to do. I tried and tried, and the shots weren’t really coming out the way I wanted. After the shoot I put the SD card in my computer to review the shots and there was something about one of the photos that sparked an idea and right then I had the picture in my mind. This was the next shot. I was blow away. If you look closely you will see an eagle or phoenix coming out of her hands. I did not have any intentions of doing that. This isn’t photoshopped as much as it looks. (model: Bianca White)
7) I had been wanting to do light paint polaroids for awhile and this night I finally got my chance. This was a fluke. I was just hanging out with friends late one night, was just about to leave since I only had a few hours to sleep until I had to be at work. Jayme said something about taking some photos. I said hold on a second and ran to the car to get my gear. It took a few tries because my polaroid camera is hit or miss. When I peeled the film apart I was blown away. I was done taking photos at that point. The scene was completely dark. All the light in this photo was painted in. (model: Jayme Foxx http://jaymefoxx.com/)
8) This was the night of Chad Muska’s art showing on Fairfax. The place was so packed I felt I had to get out of there for awhile. I had all my gear in the car so I figured I’d take some photos. So I roamed around the alleyways and it ended up being the night when the robot/alien/light man came to life. This is the second one I’ve ever done. As I was walking up to the chair I thought “this is too perfect.” I set up the camera and nailed it on the first shot.
9) This was another new step for me. I had an idea to incorporate a live person into the shot. I never have anyone go with me, so it was an opportunity for me to expand what I can do. (model: Kelso http://thewrecklesspress.tumblr.com/)
10) This is old one – within the first month I started. It’s probably the most technical one I’ve done so far.