Light painting has become a very popular kind of photography nowadays and there might be even photography courses in light painting to learn the technique. Only as a side note, photography itself is painting with light, but we understand as light painting now, that somebody holds a light source and paints with it while a camera captures the process.
It turns out that light painting is not new. Picasso did it already in 1949. The Albanian photographer Gjon Mili introduced him to it and Picasso was thrilled. Read here what Mili and Picasse created for Life magazine:
“So Picasso did his thing, in various darkened rooms of his studio. He drew a centaur, the figure of a woman, an elephant, and various faces using a small pen light. “He was so fascinated by the result that he posed for five sessions,” wrote Life magazine, for whom Mili was freelancing at the time. “Mili took his photographs in a darkened room, using two cameras, one for side view, another for front view. By leaving the shutters open, he caught the light streaks swirling through space.” The resulting images were published in a 1949 issue of Life, recently resurfacing after the magazine published about the archived images.” (read the complete article from Co.Design here)
There are other images showing Picasso creating paintings with one stroke and they are already impressing, but this is just stunning. Be aware he doesn’t see what he is painting, at least not with his eyes. If there is any proof necessary, this shows clearly that painting was in his heart.
Vincent Van Gogh must have had a real passion for his vision, continuing with his art, although he never sold one painting. And now his work is the most desired and most expensive in the world. People in his time might have felt disturbed by his new way of seeing and painting. They rather wanted it like it was and the new way only would stir something in them they didn’t want to feel, change. Innovation always causes first rejection and repression, because it means change, even in art and the one thing people resist the most is change. Other genius artists like Picasso saw Van Gogh’s strength, learned from him and honored him, yet the big public needed more time and the masses only join when something is already announced great by other famous people. Van Gogh didn’t have the breath to sit that out. Do we?
Maybe not many of us can be a Van Gogh of photography, but there are certainly many great photographers out there who do not dare to make the move, because of the fear of ending up like him. Would you do it, if you wouldn’t have to worry about money? Would you choose photography as your full-time passion? Can one choose a passion or chooses the passion you?
Many great people are doing talks on that matter and always say that you have to follow your heart and you will be excellent in what you are doing and then the money comes as well. And the people saying that are the Steve Jobs. They embarked on that path and excelled, went through the painful times and arrived at great success, admired for who they are and what they do. The great ones did it despite that money mattered, just like Van Gogh and they are the ones that are innovative, the ones that bring change.
It’s a tough and scary call to make. Only your heart knows the answer.