Photography comes from the Greek words phos (“light”), and graphis (“paintbrush”) or graphí - together they mean “drawing with light”.
It's only recently that I discovered that the photo light painting technique I've been playing with for years actually has a variety of names and styles in which photographers worldwide are using. Light Painting is the most commonly used term for this unique and momentary approach to taking pictures. In this kind of capture, only long exposures and light sources are needed to create visually stunning images. During a longer exposure, just about any moving light within a composition will leave light trails. Trails from car lights, neon signs and sparklers are among the many light sources that can be used to have fun with this technique and literally paint with your camera!
Confused? Look at the first image in the blog. The picture on the left is a standard capture. The picture on the right is the same subject at a slower shutter speed mixed in with some camera and lens movement.
Photography with light painting traces back to the 1889. But the first true artist to explore this photo technique wasn't until 1935 and Man Ray's Space Writing series. Man Ray was best known for his avant-garde photography. He worked in several different media, and thought of himself as a painter above all else. Man Ray’s contribution to photography was ground breaking and he's someone I've been inspired by since taking a few semesters of black and white film photography in college.
Light Painting by moving the camera, also called Camera Painting, is the antithesis of traditional photography and is the style of light painting that I most commonly practice. Cheers to a few camera painting shots I captured on Christmas Eve while passing through a Portlandia neighborhood light show... I bet Santa has never seen pictures like this!
If you have extra Christmas money to spend, click the link below to find awesome art from Portlandia and other places : o )
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