Part 5. Drawing with light

My work so far has lacked the idea of capture of a fleeting moment (or at least it is the quick studies only that seem to have this essence about them). In everyday life we are constantly capturing fleeting moments with cameras. This has made me think that perhaps there is some way to capture fleeting movements by using drawing and photograph together. I have enjoyed experimenting with various ‘reveal’ media throughout this course, where you draw with wax or white oil pastel on white paper, then wash ink over to reveal your image underneath. These two ideas can be combined by revealing a drawing on a photographic paper, through the capture of light. Inspired by Julia Brixey-Willimas No(t)here series of drawing of dancers on photographic images I took some glow-sticks out into the garden after dark and perched my digital camera (Panasonic Lumix TZ8) on a table with the shutter on maximum exposure time (8 seconds).  My garden is higher than the patio so by setting the camera on self-timer I was able to run up to the grass and start drawing in the air with the glow stick for the duration of the exposure. This is a different type of reveal drawing as you don’t get to see the image until you playback your camera images. I concentrated on drawing people jumping, trying to capture some movement. All in all I did about 20 of these light drawings and the results were very variable, however I was pleasantly surprised by some of them! Here are a few of the better ones.

Light 1
Light 1
Light 2
Light 2
Light 3
Light 3
Light 4
Light 4
Light 5
Light 5
Light 6
Light 6
Light 7
Light 7
Light 8
Light 8

 

The darker photographs of numbers 1 and 2 are how my set up was supposed to be, but my children kept turning on the lights in the house behind me, illuminating the edge of the garden. I think in fact this low-level illumination adds something to the images, it makes the ghostly green figures appear to be leaping up from the ground rather than just floating over it. The light from the neighbouring house appears a bit of a distraction but when I crop it out, I think the image loses something. It is as if the light ‘grounds’ the image and gives it context.  Unfortunately when I tried to print these images, the contrast between the green and the background were not very strong. In order to use these images I therefore had to do some post exposure production. Using photoshop I enhanced the green of the light. In order to make this stand out enough for a printed version I also had to darken the background to a fairly uniform black colour. Whilst this resulted in the loss of the immediate foreground I did however leave the bright light on the right hand side to keep the figure in some sort of context. Once the figures were enhanced, I loved the energy that each pose had!

I decided that these would look good as a series for my final assessment, presented together in a block. I spent some considerable time trying different orders of the images. In the end I have chosen 6 light drawings (Light 1 – 6 above) presented in 2 rows of 3 (Light 7 and 8 were not included as they are more reminiscent of flying insects than people). They are not sequential poses (after all they were all individually drawn with no reference to one another) however presented in a series allows the viewer to engage with the idea of continual motion. The position of the bright light remains constant and the figure dances around the black space.

My final presentation of these images as a series for assessment is as follows:

Part 5. Drawing with light

2 thoughts on “Part 5. Drawing with light

  1. I love the effect. I think by keeping the neighbour’s house light in shot you are giving some perspective to the glow figures. It places them in a ‘real world’ and so I think makes them even more ghost like.

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