Photographer Vitor Schietti has created a new series of what he calls “impermanent sculptures” with miniature trees, or bonsai, as the subject with the goal of creating a visible “soul” of the plants.
With his work dedicated to the visual representations of dreams and memories as building blocks of one’s identity, Schietti’s motifs go from landscape to portraiture and employ long exposures, multiple exposures, and light painting techniques.
Schietti has leveraged his light painting techniques in various natural mediums over the course of several years. Most recently, his Impermanent Sculptures project saw him create stencils to paint light into geometric shapes on landscapes, but his Bonsai project more closely resembles his long exposure series with trees where they appear to “drip light.”
His work with bonsai takes these previous experiences which he says results in a small scale representation of their grown natural counterparts. Schietti adds that because of their smaller size, his light painting strokes can reach further through the trees’ shape, thus revealing “something like its soul” or “the source of life” that appears as pulsating energy captured in a still frame.
“Trees are such majestic beings,” Schietti says. “It is not by accident that many cultures have the concept of a tree playing central roles in their creation myths. We acknowledge in this ancient form of life, the pioneers of the first cells to breathe sunlight. Trees absorb light, so they can inspire us back with their resilience, playfulness, and elegance.”
The video below, shared on Instagram, shows a glimpse of how Schietti creates his photos with bonsai.
Schietti has historically been very open with how he creates his works of art. In 2016, he shared a detailed account of how he creates light sculptures using a mix of long exposure and fireworks, which is a larger-scale version of his recent work with bonsai. The photographer went into even greater detail in 2021 when he explained how he created his floating geometric light shapes.
Image credits: Vitor Schietti