Assessment 3; Painting with Light. Repetition/Variation/Iteration

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Firstly, I was captivated by Alvin Lucier’s 1969 composition ‘I Am Sitting In A Room’ because it conveys the evolution of sound through a very simple repeated and controlled process. Beginning as speech, quickly degrades to unintelligible reverberation, before ending as simple tones as the feedback loop amplifies the resonances of the room.

With this I began to think about and hoped to achieve this notion of repetition and change within a visual and aesthetically pleasing field, using images differentiating from one another using techniques and actions of repetition. I was stuck for a while until realising I could apply to this to photography, ultimately long-exposure photography. The idea of light painting was aroused whereby I had shown great interest in Pablo Picasso’s light painting works (1949).

Pablo Picasso

This series of photographs, known ever since as Picasso’s “light drawings,” were made with a small electric light in a darkened room, depicting Picasso sketching shapes in space creating an ambiance within the room similar to Lucier. With interest in Pablo Picasso’s work led me to relate this to the contemporary world where I was familiar with Denis Smith’s work as a photographer.

(Denis Smith; Ball Of Light)

My Idea:

Experimenting through the work of Denis Smith I began to see a reoccurring pattern when taking the light painted spheres. This was that each sphere was different from the previous or the next and there was so possibility that the identical shapes could be achieve. I decided in taking this discovery and aimed to showcase this effect through the repetition of an action and it’s varied results. This was interesting because I had only taken or 3 of these kinds of photos at a time, and to take over 150 for this task allowed me to focus on all of the elements that come into play when each process was completed. Each photograph was placed in the same environment placement and also used the same camera setting such as shutter speed and aperture, emphasising the equal components that each had to deal with.



From the start, materials and utensils needed to be sourced in order for the project to lift off. LED lights/torches, rope, coloured cellophane needed to prepared in order for the repetition phase to take place.


After all of the materials were organized a setting for the photographs was to be assigned and the correct camera settings were selected. This resulted in the use of the manual settings, where the Aperture (F13), Shutter Speed (30 seconds), ISO (800) were determined.

This then proceeded to the experimental phase. I took this time to practice the repetitive notion to ensure that a sphere was composed; I too used this opportunity in gaining momentum and becoming familiar with the method.

The repetitive concept, where I then repeated this over the course of 3 days at the same time, with the same setup and using the same procedure; 160 photographs were recorded. Whereby I then printed off with the dimensions of 4 x 6.

Results we then gathered and printed off, they were then placed in a coherent order, attached together vertically in columns of 16 and elevated then by string; ready of showcasing.



2 thoughts on “Assessment 3; Painting with Light. Repetition/Variation/Iteration

  1. I came here from your curiosity post because the title intrigued me, and this is lovely. It works, actually, as a further thought about reflexivity. Light drawing flattens human time into a photograph, but really this simulates something odd about human vision that film also plays with — our internal shutter speed. What is visible is only visible because it is seen, so the seeing person is essential, just as the making person is. I’m so glad I followed curiosity and looked at this. Thank you.


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