The origins of the word “Photography” are found in Greek words phos = light and graphis = paintbrush. When combined it means “drawing with light”. The earliest record of the uses of a camera obscura can be found in the writings and drawings of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). From that period till today we all know how the technology advancement has shaped the history of photography.
Photography in terms of aesthetics and technology provides a rich plethora for discussion and inspiration. In this post, we will look at Light Painting Photography. In this method, in conjunction with a long exposure, a handheld light source is used to selectively illuminate parts of a scene to create a photograph. Pioneer photographer like Man Ray, Edmund Kesting, Gjon Mili has inspired many photographers following this genre of photography.
Man Ray: (born August 27, 1890 – died November 18, 1976)
Man Ray’s original name was Emmanuel Radnitzky. He was a photographer, painter, and filmmaker who was the only American to play a major role in both the Dada and Surrealist movements. Man Ray The first artist to explore the technique of light painting and his artistic stand to use double exposure in photography has given a significant starting point to shape where photography is today. His 1922 portrait of Marchesa Luisa Casati created an uncanny appearance of a woman with four eyes. This photograph creates a tribute to the Surrealist notion of the supernatural.
Gjon Mili: (born 1904 – died 1984)
Gjon Mili was born in Albania and came to the United States in 1923. Gjon was trained as an engineer and was a self-taught photographer. Mili and Harold Edgerton at MIT together developed tungsten filament lights for colour photography. Expanding his research further Mili used innovations in stroboscopic and stop-action in his photographic practice. Mili used this technique to study the motion of dancers, musicians, and figure skaters.
In the 1940’s Gjon attached small lights to the boots of ice skaters he then opened the shutter of his camera and created images that have never stopped inspiring the double and multiple exposure enthusiasts.
Edmund Kesting: (born 1892 – died 1970)
Edmund Kesting was a German photographer, painter and art professor who practised various experimental techniques such as solarization, multiple images and photogram.
All of the above-mentioned photographers used a very different technique to make the photographs than what is used in making my works. Their works were inspired from the point of view of challenging and exploring the artistic ability of photography. Such explorations further helped in establishing the point that photography can be much more than mere documentation of the moment. It was the aesthetic value of their photographs that inspired me to develop a method, which references a visual similarity in a very obscure way. The above masters captured the time by freezing the moment, whereas photographs from the series “Digital Waste: The Sweet Smell Of Burning“ hint at the time we have allowed to slip away. The layering of multiple photos taken in the same time frame and at the same location is a mere allegorical representation of emotions, experiences and memories associated with that space. Along with that as mentioned in my earlier post the photographic works circles around the notion of the abundance of image recurrence, it’s curation process and classification as “rejects”. Curation process brings forward many images that are not aesthetically appealing or is a mere recurrence of the same scene. With the digital technology advancement, this number has significantly increased. While ruminating over such photographs, I feel these images can be used in more meaningful manner. (click here to read the full post)