Maybe it’s these long deep-dark nights at the winter solstice here in the northern hemisphere. Or maybe it’s the hours spent by the fire. But at this time of year my heart turns to Light Painting- a fascinating form of long exposure photography with natural and artificial light. Whether the light moves on its own, is moved by a body, or a camera, the effect for me is the same. I am mesmerized.
Did you know that “mesmerize” came from the last name of a man named Franz Mesmer? In the mid 1800’s he was known for his controversial exploration of animal magnetism and his beliefs that there is energy within and between all animate and inanimate objects, that can be moved and cleared for healing. His signature technique was one of deep focused concentration and hands-on energy connection in addition to using lead rods and early on, magnets. But his lasting legacy is the term mesmerized– to be transfixed or almost hypnotised by something or someone. Moving light is my mesmerizing muse.
Whether it is drawing with moonlight or fireworks, working underwater with swimming pool lights (this is something I hope to do soon), or drawing with the headlamp light in a cave (see the blog post Ancient Light), both the co-creative process of working with light and the outcome, en-trance me.
Seems I am not alone. Many are mesmerized by all things light, movement and art. Yesterday I came upon the ethereal light paintings of Steve Orlando who fastens programmable LED lights onto swimmers, paddlers, dancers- moving bodies of all kinds then photographs them. Just look at the photo below of a kayaker on rapids! It is simply gorgeous, like silky ribbons dancing downsream.
Here is his facebook page https://www.facebook.com/motionexposure and here is his website called Motion Exposure https://motionexposure.com
For more inspiration on these long dark nights around solstice, have a peek at Zachary Johnson’s video of a drive through New York at night recreated through 3,454 oil paintings of light. As you ponder how on earth he did this you can be soothed by the gorgeous harmonies of fresh folk musicians The Sea The Sea.
Light is such a rich creative companion. What sparks your curiosity? What can you do to celebrate light in all its glory this holiday season?
P.S. check out this truly amazing and funny Sheep Art video created by the Baa Studs. It may seem only tangentially related to this blog post’s focus on light, movement and creativity but if you watch until the end you will be awed by how determined human creativity can be in the most unlikely of places.