The quote by Aristotle, "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts" can be applied to light-painting as an art form.
This year (2017) marks the 10th year I've been at it, and I've been keeping track of everyone involved in its progression throughout the years like any true fan would.
I have some favorite photographers I'd like to introduce you to in this post, many of which I've had the pleasure of meeting first hand and collaborating with, I've stayed on some of their couches in foreign lands, I've gotten lost down dirt roads in the middle of nowhere with two flat tires and low on gasoline, I've spent time and broken bread with these people having adventures I'll never forget. Here's hoping for many more adventures as the new year begins.
This list is by no means comprehensive, and I may add to it over time, but this post will give you a good idea of what else is out there in terms of different talents & styles in the field, and I'll narrate for you.
Dana Maltby (aka TCB - Twin Cities Brightest) // USA
Dana from Minneapolis-St. Paul Minnesota was one of the first long exposure artists I followed from early days, his long exposure work hits you in a wild alternate-reality sort of way. Some of my favorites from him include innovative techniques he came up with including lens-swapping during the exposure, kaleidoscopic tripod appendages, and spiro-graphing lights inside extensive drainage tunnels underneath the city.
Pala Teth // Belgium
Pala Teth, from Liege, Belgium has a distinctive style often using secondary colors (and fireworks) to achieve directed and explosive lighting effects. His work is thoughtful and well executed, there is a clear vision to each scene, a natural story-teller.
Janne Parviainen (aka JannePaint) // Finland
Janne is already a talented painter, you can see this skill shine through in his light-art style.
Part of Janne's work is characterized by its topographical appearance. In addition to his outdoor images, Janne creates entire worlds inside his dark studio using forced perspective, white chalk lines and other ingenious optical tricks.
Xaio Yang (aka Inhiu) // China
Xiao Yang is an urban explorer from Beijing, she travels extensively and captures a sci-fi like reality of nocturnal landscapes and forgotten architecture.
Much of her work is with massive buildings, often juxtaposing a human being for a sense of scale.
Julien Breton (aka Kaalam) // France
Julien is a Calligraphy artist that has used light-painting to take his skills to the streets and above the city at night. His control of the light is what impresses me most along with incorporating his work well within and around 3D spaces.
Dennis Calvert // USA
Dennis is a light-painting artist from Alabama, I'm a big fan of his super-hero (or anti-hero) images with light-art. You can tell his work by the silhouetted subject with the light usually featured as a source of power bursting out of the main character.
If his work was a story, it would probably be a time traveling tale.
Alfredo Alvarez (aka Children of Darklight) // Spain
Alfredo (or Frodo as his friends call him) is a Spanish light-artist from Oviedo in the Asturias region.
His most recent work is massive, organizing many light-painters together for one large scale installation. Recently I had the pleasure of working with him in Longhushan, China where we installed a massive light-painting inside an ancient Taoist temple after he and his crew constructed a ten meter tall structure to get just the right perspective.
Roy Wang // China
Roy Wang, from Beijing is a talented illustrator and friend I met in Shanghai, he organized our group of international artists while we were in Longhushan.
After seeing him light-paint a Chinese Dragon perfectly two times in a row, I could see that Roy could draw just about anything he wanted to with light.
Vincent Delevaux (aka Diliz) // France
Eric Pare & Kim Henry // Canada
I first met Eric & Kim while I was shin-deep in the Los Angeles River. We had planned via email or fb chat to light-paint in the LA river that night around the 6th st bridge, the last image in the gallery below is our first collaboration. I've since met he and Kim a handful of times and it's always wonderful to see them and inspiring to see their progression.
Eric Pare has a really cool project that involves bullet-time light-painting - utilizing 84 cameras to create a wild reality. He is also a pioneer of 'tube light-painting' - using plastic tubes with lights projected into the tube to create a diffused and translucent light source that silhouettes his subjects. His model and professional dancer Kim Henry adds a sense of scale, balance and drama into each highly cinematic photograph.
Astrobandit and I once took a roadtrip to the Southwest and ended up meeting Eric and Kim in Moab, Utah. It was a strange and fun chance meeting, neither he nor I had planned to be in the same area at the same time. We collaborated again, at a place called Dead Horse Point - seen in the 'Magic Carpet' image below.
Sam Heuzé (aka MASS) // France
Mass has a fluid and controlled hand that comes through strong in his art with a calligraphy focus.
His layered light-work tells a story through movement. Seeing him create live is a bit like watching someone practice martial arts, there are aggressive swipes, steps, and jabs to each shape.
Sergey Chukos // Russia
Sergey, from Moscow is the founder of Light Painting World Alliance, an organization that puts on light-art galleries, workshops, lectures, and meetings worldwide through collaboration with host cities. The artist database on lpwalliance.com features light-painting photographers around the world and is a great resource for finding light-artists around the globe.
Patrick Rochon // Canada
Patrick's style is defined by his special attention to detail.
The light textures, color, clarity, and movement in his work appear polished and professional. He's worked with a long list of high-profile clients and has innovated with products like his lite-blade series.
Denis Smith (aka The Ball of Light) // Australia
Denis Smith's positive energy is infectious, I first got to meet him in Germany during Photokina, and we had a chance to collaborate on an image together while we were there. I'm looking forward to our next collaboration, whenever that will be I'm sure it will be epic!
Denis's work is all about 'The Ball of Light' - where it goes, what it does, how it's feeling at the moment, he tells a story through exploration.
In addition to his photography, Denis also teaches workshops and does videos that educate the viewer and his participants. He also sells his own light-tools on the shop section of his website.
Jason Page // USA
Florida based light-artist Jason Page runs an in-depth website called lightpaintingphotography.com with its own database of other talented light-artists along with a historical section, monthly contests, and a regularly updated blog.
Jason's light-work involves innovative approaches to layered light-stenciling and ghostly textured light characters along the coasts and deep in the forests.
In addition to his light-art and informative website, Jason also invented a useful set of color-filtered light-extensions and textured elements called 'Light Painting Brushes' which you can purchase via his online shop.
Hugo Baptista (aka Oddball Graphics) // Netherlands
Hugo's work with light-painting is methodical, like a scientist. First comes the idea, that's the easy part. The difficult part is the execution of it over time and multiple efforts. Often after tinkering with an idea for a long time, Hugo will make a breakthrough. I admire his focus and dedication to seeing an idea all the way through despite the obstacles along the way!
A few years ago we had the chance to collaborate on an idea Hugo had to try and 'crowd-source bullet-time light-painting'. You can read an interview about it here. Or just watch the video! He got different photographers together (with different cameras) and had them shoot tons of photos over three hours to achieve the matrix-like video effect.
In 2016 we collaborated in the Netherlands, resulting in the last image in the gallery below. No editing there, the effects are done in-camera.
Brian Hart // USA
Brian's work bears the mark of several arts - illustration, design, and mosaic styles can all be found in his images. He has big ideas that are built piece by piece over time.
Trevor Williams (aka Tdub & Fiz-iks) // Japan
Trevor's work can be characterized by his innovations through countless experiments. Tdub uses models, constructs massive light-domes, produces light-stencils, and sets fire to steel-wool to produce his eye-catching imagery.
We once collaborated on an animated project involving light-stenciled Pac-Man-esque characters invading the home of an unsuspecting tv-watcher.
Currently, Trevor focuses on more journalistic imagery, but you can see his skill as a light-artist shine through in his low-light work.
Tig Tab // Australia
Tim Gamble (aka Fade to Black) // UK
Hannu Huhtamo // Finland
Dan Whitaker // UK
I've met up with Dan a few times now and it's always a pleasure to see him, the last image in the gallery below is a fun collaboration of ours. One of my light-skeletons surfing the flags of our countries in front of the Hollywood sign.
Dan's style is colorful and explorative, his images give the viewer a vibrant place to follow his character deeper into a giant maze of light.
Troy Paiva (aka Lost America) // USA
Lost America's style is defined by what he photographs, mainly forgotten relics of America in it's prime, now coated with a time-earned patina, and his color-filtered lighting under a full moon in the desert.
Troy's work has an eerie but familiar quality to it, much like a Stephen King novel. In fact his work was used for a few of Stephen King's books ('Mile 81' and 'From a Buick 8') and that makes perfect sense to me. It seems like there's always something lurking beneath the surface or hiding around the corners to his images. In terms of the technical, Troy is a pro w exposure time and surface lighting, many have mimicked but few have got it down as well as the master himself.
Jeremy Jackson (aka Tacky Shack) // USA
I don't know where to begin with Tacky Shack's work over the years, he throws everything into his light-paintings but the kitchen sink.. And then the kitchen sink! Fireworks, lasers, and strange experiments are ever-present in Jeremy's light-style.
Sometimes I can't tell if what I'm looking at is an experiment or if there was artistic intent, then out of nowhere he hits a grand slam and it's way out of the ballpark.