Having first discovered light painting by chance, Jason D. Page is now recognized as a leader in the field. He has pioneered multiple light paintings techniques and his work has been featured in many exhibitions and galleries worldwide. He’s a passionate, creative artist and the founder of both Light Painting Brushes and LightPaintingPhotography.com — a website dedicated to everything surrounding light painting!
Hi Jason! Please tell us about yourself.
I am 38, I live in South Florida, and I am married to my lovely wife Courtney. I have been taking pictures since I was about 15 and light painting since 2004. I am the founder of LightPaintingPhotography.com and I am extremely passionate about the promotion and progression of the Light Painting art form. Beside light painting I enjoy surfing and martial arts. I can never find my keys, I am messy and I stay up late.
When and why did you first become interested in light painting?
I discovered Light Painting completely by chance. In late 2004 I was out shooting some long exposure seascapes on a full moon night when I accidentally bumped my camera. When I saw the light streak that the moon had left across the sky in the image, it was my epiphany, in that instant I was a light painter.
How did your company Light Painting Brushes start and how did you decide what products would be most interesting to make/use?
Its a bit of a long story but…almost from the start of my Light Painting journey I have used empty plastic bottles as light modifiers to create various colors and textures within my work. The problem I had was that I could only find one small flashlight that would fit into the bottles that I used. To create what I envisioned I needed to use many different lights of varying lumen output with the bottles. I tried tape and that type of stuff to attach different lights but that meant the lights were fixed to one modifier or the other. I would ruin my lights with all the sticky residue and it was just a pain in the a**. I needed something that could connect all my various flashlights to my different light modifiers but couldn’t find anything, so I figured I would make something to use. As the project progressed I realized that if I designed a simple and affordable connector it could unlock a whole Light Painting System. The goal was then to create something simple and affordable that would make light painting tools available to everyone, not just a one off thing for myself. I wanted to create a solution for everyone that wanted great light painting tools but lacked either the time, space or ability to make their own.
After three years of development and many different (over complicated) prototypes, the final design of the Light Painting Brushes System and Universal Connector was created! The range of tools in the Light Painting Brushes System covers a variety of shapes, colors, and textures. Everything is designed to work together and compliment each other. With the range of attachments that are available the possibilities are really limitless to what you can create with them. We are designing even more awesome new attachments that will compliment the existing line. New attachments will always work with the Universal Connector. Light Painting Brushes is a modular system that photographers and Light Painters can build on. I think one of the coolest things about the Light Painting Brushes is if you are on a budget you can just get a Universal Connector and make your own brushes out of empty plastic bottles, it’s also a great feature when you are in a jam. I still make my own custom stuff out of empty bottles from the garbage all the time.
Do you have a favorite light painting tool?
The Universal Connector is by far my favorite tool, I use it for every image I create now and I have no idea how I worked without it before. For the attachments I have been enjoying the Black Fiber Optic and the Swords but I am really all over the place. A few new prototype attachments that I am working on are really exciting too!
What’s your process for light painting like i.e. deciding on a theme, location and preparation?
Fantasy fairy tale type stuff has got me at the moment. I think of my process as pretty analog, all my images are created in real time and captured to the camera in one single frame. Sometimes the ideas are pretty difficult to accomplish in camera but I enjoy trying to figure it all out, a lot of times my ideas don’t work out but I always learn something from experimenting and when they do work its a great feeling. I like to plan my shots out as much as possible. I work much better with an idea in mind rather than just going out and seeing what happens. I will generally make or modify whatever I need and test it out in the studio before I go out to a location. I shoot alone most of the time which is when I feel I create my best work. I do like incorporating people into my images but it can be difficult to get people to want to stand for hours in the dark woods dealing with all the bugs and critters that are in my area.
You make impressive light portraits of iconic people like Jimi Hendrix, Andy Warhol and even Jesus Christ. What’s your approach with these kinds of creations?
Thank you. The process itself is very similar to traditional printmaking. I take an image and deconstruct it into a bunch of parts, then I take the parts and make glass plates out of them with positive and negative space. I open the shutter of the camera and use different lights to illuminate each section at a time while moving the plates in and out of frame. I light paint them all by hand and they are all made using just 2 Universal Connectors attached to two flashlights and a bunch of the different Light Painting Brushes. All the Icons are SOOC with the exception of the planned square crop and I remove some of the burnt pixels when I print them.
Do you have light painting photograph that you are particularly proud of?
I am proud of my Icons series in particular the Albert Einstein really because it turned out just how I envisioned it. I had this idea of creating prints from light after seeing some of Andy Warhol’s printmaking work. It took me a long time to figure out the process to get them to look like they do, but I am really happy with the results. I also really like the Apparitions series, I feel like those images really capture the true spirit of working with light as a medium. Some of the landscapes too because I enjoy being alone in the
woods at night creating, its very peaceful and I just feel tuned into something greater when I am out there. The landscape images can take me back to those moments that I enjoy.
How do you think this art form will evolve in the next 20 years?
I see Light Painting being recognized as its own art form rather than a photographic technique. I think Light Painting is its own art form, just as drawing is an art form or painting is an art form. Calling light painting a photographic technique would be the same thing as calling painting a canvas technique or drawing a sketch pad technique. I also think that you will see a lot more commercial work. Many major brands have used light painting recently; Reebok, Huawei, Sony, Honda and Lenovo just to name a few. I think more and more people will realize the magic that is light painting and will want to use it to convey messages in a medium that can create beauty like nothing else can. I also see an explosion in live Light Painting for instance Light Painting Photo Booths. People absolutely go nuts when they experience light painting for the first time no matter if they are a seasoned photographer or someone who has never touched a camera. Light Painting is MAGIC and people love to see it live.
Any tips for people who are brand new to light painting?
Start right now, turn off your computer, get your camera set it to iso 100, F-8 and a 10-30 second exposure find something that lights up, stand in front of the camera, open the shutter, and go crazy I guarantee its the most fun you will have with your camera in a long time. Get involved in the LP community, share your work and get feedback. One of the greatest things about the Light Painting art form is the people in our community. Light Painters are very willing to help each other. If you have questions ask, shoot me an email I am more than happy to help with anything that I can. Check out LightPaintingPhotography.com its a great resource where you can find tons of inspiration and tutorials. As far as gear getting a good tripod and a intervalometer will really help. Coast flashlights are also great and they are big supporters of the Light Painting Community.
The Light Painting Brushes are available in the Online Shop.
Visit his website to learn more about Jason’ D. Page and his work.