Expat Expo - Light Painting

Speaking of the HWA'S Gallery, David and his colleagues there have generously donated some space for our Expat Expo show- a student art show which will showcase the work of about eight schools around Shanghai. I'm floored that we got such a great space for our show, in no small part to the efforts of my colleague and friend Ellen Levenhagen, and the incredible generosity of David at HWAS.

Yes, I am aware that I used two variations of the word 'generous' to describe David and the folks at HWAS, and while it might not be great writing, it only begins to reflect my appreciation. Generous. Oop- There I go again.

Currently, I'm organizing some of the student work to go up in the Expo, and so over the next few weeks I'll share some of the work that I'm planning on hanging from my own students. First, here is the light painting project I mentioned earlier in the year- I'm so thrilled with the results:

I chose one photo from each student, an incredibly difficult task given the quality of their work. You can see the rest of their photographs here.

These were the project parameters:

You will need to find two locations for this assignment, 1 indoor and 1 outdoor.

You will end with a total of five final photographs. At least two in each location (3 in one, 2 in the other)

For your outdoor assignments: Find an interesting location away from your own backyard. It should be somewhere that is dark, although it may have some light (remember that your shutter will be open for a long time so it can't be that bright).

For all assignments: Make sure that you think about positioning your models/objects along the Z axis.

Assignment 1:
Create a composition by highlighting details within the frame of the camera with the flashlight.

Include 2 people, or a person and an object. One (or both) of these things should be 'altered with light'. You can use light to make them transparent, drawn on or around them with light, or have them draw in the air with light.

Assignment 2:

1. Create a 3D drawing in air using a laser pointer, LED, or LED flashlight. Try and re-create a space in your house (or other dark indoor location) with objects and 'things' created out of light. Remember that things closer to the camera should appear drawn bigger than things away from the camera.

Assignment 3:

One person in your photograph is painted in a number of different locations in the same photograph. This should include some suggestions of difference - emotions, positions, etc.

Assignment 4:
Abstraction. Using lights, create an abstract composition. YES- this may have realistic elements in it (people, objects, etc).

Assignment 5:
Free choice.


  1. learningIT said...
    Hey these photos are great!
    Excellent work and interesting assignment too.
    Can I throw it up on my wiki?
    Pass on my congrats to the students. There is 1 student here at my school who is interested in this so I will pass it along to her.
    dsgran said...
    Thanks Frank, I'll tell the students! Of course you can use it on the wiki. Anything I post is up to share, adapt, change... use however you please.
    Mike said...
    This is a cool idea that I've thought about trying in the past with my kids. Do all your students have DSLR's? The stumbling point for me has been that I have a large number of kids with P&S digital cameras and most of them have pretty limited functionality with shutter speeds. How do you get around this?
    dsgran said...
    Yes, we lucked out - we had a small enrollment in our advanced photo classes this year, so we were able to provide each student with their own DSLR.

    Do you have any DSLRs to use? If so, you could try making it a long term project- which is what I'll be doing next year with some extra lenses I ordered.

    In other words, it was too expensive to outfit everyone with a macro lens, so over the course of the semester, I'm planning on giving everyone the macro assignment, and they'll have to complete it in the week that they get the lens to work with.

    Could be the same with a DSLR if you have one to cycle out through all the students.
    Adam said...
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