Light painting is a technique in photography wherein a source of light is used to draw images on air. These images appear on the photos since the movement of the light is captured during a long exposure. Find out more about the origins of light painting.
The earliest known work on light painting dates back to 1914 when husband and wife Frank and Lillian Gilbreth used small lights to track the movement of workers. Frank is known as the ‘Father of Motion Studies’. He was also working on the field of scientific management when he produced the light painting photos.
Both Frank and Lillian were not advocates of photography. They stumbled upon light painting during one of their studies on work simplification, since they were working on industrial efficiency techniques for different places such as offices and hospitals. They were looking for different ways on how employees could increase their production while making sure that they do it simply. He put small lights on the hands of the workers and the tools that they used when working. So with some small lights and an open camera shutter, they were able to produce the first known light painting photographs.
Here are the photos of the first known light paintings:
After the first light painting photos, other photographers and artists, such as Man Ray, Gjon Mili, Jack Delano and others also produced their own light painting photographs. Unlike Frank Gilbreth, these men were photographers who really got into light painting for their craft.
Here are some light painting photos from our community: