Light painting is a photographic technique that never goes out of trend. Everyone can do it—all you need is a camera set in long exposure and a flashlight! I’m not quite sure who started the trend, but two great artists, Gjon Mili and Pablo Picasso, already experimented with light painting in the 1940’s.
Gjon Mili is a known photographer for Life Magazine. Even though he doesn’t have any formal education in photography (he was self-taught), he impressed a lot of people with his original photographic techniques. Mili was also a pioneer in using stratoboscopic light to create remarkable photos. Here are two photos taken by Gjon Mili himself in 1945, featuring figure skater Carol Lynne. Her movements were traced by distinct patterns of light from the imbedded flashlights on her skates.
The photos were later on showed to Pablo Picasso and these aroused his creative mind. Being used to holding a brush and painting on canvas, Picasso, tried to paint with flashlight or “light pencil” in thin air for the first time in 1949—photographed, of course, by Gjon Mili.
photos from LIFE