The First Known Light Painting Photos

The first known light painting photographs were made way back in 1914, when Frank and Lillian Moller Gilbreth used small lights and long exposure photos to capture the motion of workers. Subjects ranged from handkerchief folders to bricklayers. The photos weren’t meant as art, but were instead made to help develop ways to increase employee output and simplify job tasks.

Here’s an unrelated but interesting fact: Frank Gilbreth is the father and central figure in Cheaper By The Dozen, which was written by his son and turned into a Hollywood movie in 1950.

  • Jcarey56

    Great post. Actually, the 2003 movie was not really based on the book, it was just a movie about a family with 12 kids. The 1950’s movie with Myrna Loy is based on the book.

  • Michael Zhang

    Ahh, thanks for pointing that out. We’ve updated the post :)

  • Sebastian Merchel

    Try lightpainting using your webcam to capture images and your iPhone, iPod or iPad as a light source: … Have fun!

  • Michael Ross

    I think this wrong now… new information has been uncovered regarding older light painting images.