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Influential Photographs: Picasso draws a centaur in the air, 1949 by Gjon Mili

While Pablo Picasso worked primarily with paint, the iconic and multi-faceted Spanish artist also fiddled with many other creative mediums. One of them was photography, introduced to him by LIFE photographer Gjon Mili.

When Albanian-American LIFE photographer Gjon Mili paid Pablo Picasso a visit at his home and studio in Southern France, he probably did not expect for something very momentous to happen. However, as LIFE magazine noted, something extraordinary was bound to commence from the meeting of the two great minds and skilled artists.

Photo by Gjon Mili via LIFE

After Mili showed Picasso some of his photos — light paintings of ice skaters with tiny lights attached on their skates, twirling and jumping about in the dark — the Spanish painter became intrigued with the technique. A LIFE magazine report said that Picasso allowed Mili to try one experiment for 15 minutes, and the result fascinated him so much that he posed for five sessions and made 30 drawings. Mili took his photos in a dark room and used two cameras whose shutters he kept open to capture the light doodles of the iconic artist.

Photo by Gjon Mili via LIFE

The photo above is just one of the products of the collaboration between Picasso and Mili, a light painting of a centaur drawn by the painter using a small electric light in a darkened room. It became the most celebrated light drawing of Picasso out of all that Mili took (most of them were not even published in LIFE), but needless to say, these

Check out these articles to find out more about Pablo Picasso’s light paintings taken by Gjon Mili:

Light Painting and Life with Pablo Picasso
Life Behind the Picture: Picasso “Draws” With Light

Our intention with the Influential Photographs columns is not to glorify or demean the subject of the photo. Our intention with this column is to highlight the most influential analogue photographs of history. The photographs we feature are considered icons, for their composition, subject matter, or avant-garde artistic value.

written by plasticpopsicle

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Italiano.