PetaPixel

10 Amazing Light Painting Photographers You Should Start Following Right Now

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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:

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1. LAPP-PRO

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


 
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  • http://reciprocity-failure.blogspot.com/ Stan B.

    Apologize for “going negative.” Everyone has the right to their own likes and dislikes, period.

    This is just so not my cup of tea that I instinctively reacted to the title that demanded I pay attention to this…

  • Christian DeBaun

    I’m friends with Jeremy Jackson (9), and he’s an amazing artist. He came and taught a workshop at our photography group – and the amount of work that goes into these paintings is incredible.

    Thanks for sharing these – well done Alan Steadman.

  • Sam Bendall

    Patrick Rochon is a personal favorite of mine. A true artist

  • David

    And Michael Bosanko is a good Light Painting Photographer… :)

  • Lance Keimig

    Any list of light painters is incomplete without Troy Paiva, better known as Lost America. He’s been doing it, and doing it well since most of these guys were in diapers. Darren Pearson is another one!

  • Steev Selby

    Missed out Denis Smith with his (now often copied) Ball of Light http://www.denissmith.com.au/

  • Davor Pavlic

    Photographing something in the dark with some lights isn’t light painting. Images like 2, 4, etc.

  • http://www.bradtrent.com Brad Trent

    Meh…if I wanna look at light painting, I just check out Chip Simons…he was doing stuff that blows all of this clear outta the water 20 years ago!!! http://damnuglyphotography.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/chip.jpg

  • Burnin Biomass

    Don’t forget Eric Staller either, I believe he is still around.

  • Jan Leonardo Wöllert

    it’s very interesting Dave!
    What is Light Painting?
    Is light painting somewhere described, do you know rules?
    Light Painting is all and nothing!

    JanLeonardo

  • Jason

    Sorry, but just not my bag at all.

  • Mool Kae
  • GM

    I find this stuff really boring

  • http://www.miedza.de/ Miedza Lightart

    Hi all,

    this is Jörg Miedza, one of the two founders of LAPP-PRO and i still working in lightpainting. Great article, but i have to correct that there is no leftover LAPP-PRO project. LAPP-PRO was closed/ended in summer 2011. The Project is dead.
    The original website-content was changed by my ex-partner (you can see it in the adress forwarding).
    If you´re intrested (and you´re welcome to do that) to have a look to the last official version of the old website please change the DE-Adress into the COM-Adress -> lapp-pro dot com

  • john

    Links/description 4 and 5 seem to be backwards?

  • Davor Pavlic

    Light painting is something where you take a ray of light and use it like a brush or in a similar fashion. It’s not photographing regular place lit in the dark with no painting at all. That’s closer to studio lighting or any light source than to painting. How is it the photographer painting anything if he is photographing sparks? Maybe it’s light painting when shooting star trails then?

  • Jan Leonardo Wöllert

    Again: Light Painting is all and nothing!
    You haven’t rules or anything described.
    What you say is described by you.
    Yes of course … Light Trails are Light painting too.
    Moving the camera too.

    best janleonardo

  • Davor Pavlic

    You are only making the photography definition broader. In that case all photography is light painting. But talking about this technique, it’s a little bit more specific and consists of a photographer having a lightsource and painting in the dark over things he wants to see in the photo or moving them to make a shape or something like that. But you know that since you are doing it right in the example above. But you can not tell me that leaving a few lightsources around is light painting like in this example: http://i1.wp.com/petapixel.com/assets/uploads/2013/08/111.jpg?resize=600%2C350

  • Dennis Calvert

    Eric is listed at the top of the article and has been an inspiration to most of the folks listed. He hasn’t been active or interested in light paint in three decades though.

  • Cheryl Harris

    If it’s such a good deal, why are you doing it instead of pasting links on stories!

    Oh! I get it! That IS the job! And you’re Aunty Charlotte!

  • rogeros

    If you ask me, I’m choosing Pacman as my favorite. I played this game when I was a child.

  • Justin Gulbransen

    Troy and Darren are definitely two of my favorite light painters. I especially love Darren’s work because he is doing something very different than what most people do in light painting. Another artist I would have listed is Aurora Crowley, but it’s really hard to narrow down a field of such amazing artists to just 10 individuals and this is a pretty solid list. I would have personally put Patrick Rochon and Dennis Calvert in the numbers 2 and 3 spot behind LAPP-PRO.

  • Davor Pavlic

    I have to write again since PP won’t aprove my coment with the link.
    So…
    I would guess that you are only making a broader definition of photography in general – writing with light on the sensor. But we are not talking about photography in general, but about a certain technique and like it or not it has some rules. Even if it didn’t have them it’s called light painting. You of all shouldn’t act like you don’t know that, since your photo up there is one of great examples of it. The 2nd photo up there is several light sources put around a tree with nothing for the photographer to do. He’s not painting in areas he wants to show, painting forms in the air, he’s not doing anything. People do that all the time, it’s called lighting.

    I’m sorry if I come across as rude, I love some of these photos, but at least two of them shouldn’t have made the list.

    All the best,

    Davor

  • Robert Thompson

    Take a look at David Black’s work it’ amazing.

  • Burnin Biomass

    Ooops, thank you, I missed his name at the start!

  • Tyler Magee

    #10 and #8 where good….

  • Dave

    But not boring enough to take the time to comment? Your motive is obvious.

  • Renato Murakami

    Awesome stuff! Interested in knowing the weird gear that must’ve been made to produce some of the shots. Also, gotta hate how Petapixel seems to be attracting more and more trolls and useless commenters lately.
    PROTIP: if you don’t like it, skip it. No one wants to know you find x stuff boring or that it “doesn’t do it for you”.
    Comments like that does nothing for you, does nothing for others, other than perhaps make you look like a douche for the author of the post, for the photographers listed and for other people reading the comments.

  • Jan Leonardo Wöllert

    Hello Davor,

    do you understand how i made my photography?
    I don’t think so! Sorry, but what you say show me you don’t understand what i done. You think, i only switch on a big light.
    Ok … but for what i need 3 minutes exposure time?

    The definition of light painting: … to paint with light in a front of a camera. In my photography I done much more than painting with light in the front of a camera.

    cheers janleonardo

  • Jan Leonardo Wöllert

    It is only a list of different Light Painting Artists.
    In the past there were other lists, with other artists.
    What is here the problem?

    LAPP-PRO isn’t dead … it’s still working, as you can see.
    The German brand LAPP-PRO belongs to me.
    I have two Projects, one of them is LAPP-PRO.

    If the project for Jörg is dead, it’s not my problem.
    But of course Jörg isn’t a member of LAPP-PRO.

    cheers janleonardo

  • Jan Leonardo Wöllert

    100% agree Renato!

  • Jan Leonardo Wöllert

    LAPP-PRO isn’t dead … it’s still working, as you can see.
    The German brand LAPP-PRO belongs to me.
    I have two Projects, one of them is LAPP-PRO.

    If the project for Jörg is dead, it’s not my problem.
    But of course Jörg isn’t a member of LAPP-PRO.

  • http://www.miedza.de/ Miedza Lightart

    without words…….

  • http://www.miedza.de/ Miedza Lightart

    without any words…….

  • Davor Pavlic

    You could have had a 30 minutes exposure, but as long as you are using no lights to paint, but only positioned lighting (and lighting isn’t only a big white light), that is no light PAINTING, as it is in your first image.
    There are no light trails in your 2nd picture so I’m not convinced it is a 3 minute exposure, some parts of the light are perfectly frozen and clear, a light painting has TRAILS OF LIGHT, just as a brush makes brush strokes. But even if it was a longer exposure that is no reason to call it painting.

  • Guest

    without words? sorry, but it’ s your discussion!
    i can re-start every time a project, if i want.
    the project with jörg miedza is dead … right.
    but i reloaded LAPP-PRO for my self.
    i’m the member of the brand LAPP-PRO.

    cheers janleonardo

  • Jan Leonardo Wöllert

    i can re-start every time a project, if i want.

    without words? sorry, but it’ s your discussion!

    the project with jörg miedza is dead … of course.
    but i reloaded LAPP-PRO for my self.
    i’m the member of the brand LAPP-PRO.

    cheers janleonardo

  • Jan Leonardo Wöllert

    i can re-start every time a project, if i want.

    without words? sorry, but it’ s your discussion!

    the project with jörg miedza is dead … of course.
    but i reloaded LAPP-PRO for my self.
    i’m the member of the brand LAPP-PRO.

    cheers janleonardo

  • Jan Leonardo Wöllert

    please davor,

    have a look in the english wikipedia:light painting.
    there is much more then playing with light sources in the front of a camera.

    but your are not totally wrong: the name of this technique is:
    choreographic photography.

  • Jones

    It is embarrasing to discuss about this here in public. You two are so childish :D!

  • Jan Leonardo Wöllert

    you are right!

  • Jan Leonardo Wöllert

    Dear friends,

    sorry for this stupid discussion with JM.
    I wanted to delete the posts, but JM reposted them.
    Dear Admin, please delete the whole discussion!
    Thank you.

    Best JanLeonardo

  • Brad Lee Dale North

    No Michael Bosanko?

  • Davor Pavlic

    Jan, there are some light trails I can not explain in this photo, but this, for the most part, looks like a multiple exposure image done in PS. Don’t get me wrong, I like it, but not sure I’d clasify it as painting.

    And please don’t refer me to a wikipedia article which takes defintions from you. If you want to refer me to something, make it something objective and not tied to either you or me. But even there it says: Light painting is a photographic technique in which exposures are made by moving a hand-held light source or by moving the camera. The term light painting also encompasses images lit from outside the frame with hand-held light sources.

    In the 2nd picture in the article there is nobody in or outside of the picture painting with light by moving a light source to objects that need to be shown or making some irregular forms like in your first photograph. You have set up a lighting consisting of maybe 4 square light sources, maybe LED panels with CTO gel or something, 1 round shaped object turning and house lights in the background. I would hazzard a guess that this was not a 3 minute exposure, but several photographs combined with exposures to total 3 minutes. That is how I would explain the straight lines in the round object (if there aren’t any usually) and frozen light shapes further away from it.

    As for projecting something onto someones face and calling it light painting… It could be refered to it like that, but I’d rather add a word there and call it “light body painting” as you are not making any “brushstrokes” with a light source.

  • Jan Leonardo Wöllert

    hi davor,

    i must say sorry again, but you don’t understand how i made this photography. every time i work in one shutter time, i perform my photography during one exposure time.

    i never use photoshop to create photography’s. i never use layers or multi exposures, i don’t need it.
    i use special techniques they i have developed. one of them is FLC (flexible light control).
    please have a look in the Exif Data:

    Canon
    Canon EOS 5D Mark II

    F/14
    167 Seconds
    ISO100

    If you watch carefully in the photography you see, that there are moving light. but this photo is mutch to small to see all the details.

    cheers janleonardo

  • 234r534r534

    fuktards…..

  • Jocklum

    well it only shows what kind of person you are….. disgusting….