Light Painting goes as far back as Pablo Picasso, and since the true formation of the medium with pioneers such as Dean Chamberlain, Eric Staller and Vicki DaSilva, there has been a mass of people trying their hand at the world of light painting photography. The advent of the digital camera and the popularity of DSLRs has only made this number grow exponentially.
In this sudden growth and glut of people experimenting — and I include myself as part of that “glut” so please don’t be offended or discouraged — it can sometimes be difficult to find those truly special artists who are expanding the medium and taking it to the next level. Luckily, I’m here to help. Here are 10 amazing light painting artists you need to check out:
LAPP-PRO, formerly a duo but now just Jan Leonardo, is one of the most well-known light painting photographers working today. I can pretty much guarantee that anywhere people are discussing the best artists in the medium, LAPP-PRO will be mentioned. And if you take one look at Leonardo’s work, you’ll quickly realize just why he’s so well-known.
Plainly put, he demonstrates a mastery over the craft that isn’t seen anywhere else, and combined with his highly inventive and original concepts, this makes him stand leaps and bounds above most artists working with light painting. This is probably why he’s one of the few people doing it that are officially sponsored by Canon, Zeiss, and LED Lenser.
2. Hannu Huhtamo
Hannu Huhtamo‘s light painting is notable for many reasons, but perhaps one of the most impressive aspects of his work is his symmetry. His large body of work is filled with lush and mesmerizing flowers of light and glowing structures that put others to shame.
The control and preciseness he demonstrates allows him to create what could easily be confused with CG renderings of alien flora or insect hives, made all the more impressive when you realize these weren’t some brilliant idea brought to life in a computer, they were created in the real world using only light. Work like Hannu’s truly shows the power and appeal of light painting.
3. Trevor Williams
Trevor Williams, currently a member of the Japan -based light painting group Fiz-iks, might be a familiar name to a lot of people. Not only has he been featured here before, but he’s one of the most prominent light painting photographers working today. He also gave a big boost to the light painting community by creating the widely known Flickr group, Light Junkies — a haven for anybody interested in exploring or sharing their own light experimentations.
You’d be smart to join the group, if for no other reason than to see Trevor’s work. The attention he pays to his surroundings and the way he incorporates them often take his photos to the next level and is partially why his work is so notable. Other photographers would be wise to try and do the same.
4. Dana Maltby
The surreal work of Dana Maltby is a welcome breath of fresh air in the world of light painting photography. The way Dana brings his fiery visions and beautiful patterns to life is not only amazing, it’s also usually done with a unique twist that leaves you wondering just how it was achieved.
Luckily, another one of Dana’s talents is his ability to teach, or at least his willingness to share his methods with others. While most painters/photographers are hesitant to share their tricks, especially those of Dana’s talents, Dana has no problem showcasing his many makeshift tools, tricks and methods — and we’re all better for it.
5. Brian Matthew Hart
There’s not much I need to say about Brian Matthew Hart. Looking over his light painting work, you’ll immediately see why he made this list. His body of work is unlike any other that I’ve seen. Closer in its aesthetic to actual painting and sketching, it embraces the human form and traditional art mediums in a way that deserves to be noticed.
His luminescent figure studies are mind-blowing, his light sketches are gorgeous, and he’s definitely an artist exploring the medium in a way few others have even contemplated. Take note now, Brian Matthew Hart is one to keep an eye on.
6. Janne Parviainen
Janne Parviainen is another light painting photographer who has truly embraced the human figure. His work brings to life a fantastic vision of the world where ghostly illuminations interact with real world environments and objects such as a neon green skeleton playing a guitar or a theatre haunted by rainbow streaked phantoms.
And Janne’s work isn’t restricted to just human forms either, in his portfolio you’ll also find a fair share of luminescent beats stalking frozen lakes or lurking through the snow-covered forests.
7. Patrick Rochon
Patrick Rochon is another light artist that we’ve featured in the past, and with good reason. His gloriously abstract light painting work alone would get him noticed but his fantastic work with a wide range of companies and collaborators goes above and beyond, and is regularly both inventive and stunning.
One of my personal favorites was his recent work with Red Bull where he used wake boarders and wind surfers to create ribbons of light that were genuinely one of a kind. When it comes to inventive and fun light painting, Patrick is an expert.
8. Michael Ross
Michael Ross‘s work is one of those special cases where you begin by enjoying the simple beauties of his work, and yet the more you look through it, the more you realize just how nuanced and controlled his light painting photography is.
His high concept photos are pulled off in a way that appears effortless, yet anyone who has tried their hand at light painting knows just how difficult some of his results are to come by.
9. Jeremy Jackson
Jeremy Jackson‘s spastic use of color, patterns, and reflections create a body of work unrivaled by most. Beyond the pure aesthetic appeal of Jeremy’s work, there’s a tremendous feeling of fun that oozes out of every piece.
Looking at his photos you can’t help but feel like every one of them was just as enjoyable to create as it is to look at. His beautiful, bright, and bizarre worlds are a welcome addition to the light painting universe.
10. Dennis Calvert
Dennis Calvert is one of my personal favorite light painting photographers, and is actually the artist that first inspired me to try light painting. The gorgeous way he uses negative space created by human figures and his mastery of light patterns was simply too intoxicating for me not to try.
Luckily Dennis is another light painting photographer friendly enough to share his methods with interested parties. If you’re looking for a good way to get sucked into the world of light painting, Dennis Calvert’s photos are where I recommend you start.
Image credits: All photographs by their respective artists and used with permission.