Kevin Gonsalves on Light Painting

I’m a big fan of photography, and if pressed, I would say that my favourite type is light painting. I think it’s incomparable, both because it seems so magical–the artist doesn’t see the art created until after it’s finished–and because of the special respect I have for those who invest time and thought into it.

At the end of the day, I simply enjoy being won over by the pictures. Below are five of my favourite examples of light painting, which I hope will give you the same feeling. I’ve chosen videos to demonstrate this type of art rather than still photos, because a couple of these show the process behind the magic trick and a couple of them bring light painting to life.

Kevin Gonsalves is a freelance photographer and content producer/marketer based in Toronto. His own experiments with light painting, as part of a photography exercise called Project 60, can be found here. Follow him @kevingonsalves

1. Making Future Magic

Making Future Magic is a short movie that visualizes the business strategy of Dentsu London, a creative communications agency. Taking cues from traditional stop-motion animation, they’ve taken a giant leap forward by using iPads to create their light drawings. The end result? Breathtaking.

2. Immaterials: Light painting WiFi

Immaterials: Light painting WiFi is a project by Timo Arnall, Jørn Knutsen and Einar Sneve Martinussen that explores the invisible terrain of Wi-Fi networks throughout urban spaces. Using light painting they showcase varying Wi-Fi signal strength in long-exposure photographs. It is visceral representation of a truly networked city.

3. Light Drive

Light Drive is a stop-motion video created by Kim Pimmel using Bluetooth technology and long exposure photography. With some of the exposures lasting up to 20 seconds at a time, the resulting short film is a mesmerizing pastiche of magic, science and music.

4. Lightworkers

For Toronto’s annual photography festival Contact, in 2010, local photographer Steve Carty pushed the art of light painting to the next level with his series entitled Lightworkers. Enlisting accomplished graffiti artist Skam and other notable artists, Carty creates a wonderful paradox where the artists he shoots don’t see their work until after it’s finished. Brilliant.

5. Tokyo/Glow

Tokyo/Glow is stunning short film written and directed by Torontonian Jonathan Bensimon. Using hundreds of feet of high-voltage LED rope lights for the central character’s “glow,” this extremely touching story is given life through the magic of stop-motion and light-painted images.