All images by Julien Breton and David Gallard. Used with permission.
Julien Breton doesn’t earn his living by selling artwork or even photography. But he worked with photographer David Gallard on a special light painting calligraphy project. Julien is a dancer that works with a travelling troupe and along with David creates original photography artwork as part of his passion. None of it is Photoshopped and all of it is incredible. We talked to Julien about how to create light paintings like this and his experience of learning more about the craft.
Phoblographer: Talk to us about how you got into helping to create this type of photography.
Julien: I started traditional calligraphy 16 years ago. By discovering Arabic calligraphy and mainly the calligrapher Hassan Massoudy. 9 years ago, a photographer called me to asking me if i had done light-painting. I said “I am not interested Because this is a fake and digital technic”. He answered me “no, it’s not a fake–just long exposure photography”.
I was really far away from knowing the possibilities of a camera and some simple lights.
And the adventure started. I began to work alone, but photography isn’t a passion for me. Only a way to create Light calligraphy in the air. So I worked with the best light painting photographer David Gallard. I work with him for 6 years and he’s the live light painting photographer of our dance company “Turn off the Light”.
Phoblographer: What attracted you to light painting?
Julien: The movement and the challenge. On paper, i always tried to increase the size of my artwork to work more and more with gestural calligraphy. To work with my entire body and not only with my arm. Light-painting allows me to use the 3 dimension too…
About the challenge of writing in reverse and without feedback, i think it’s very near of the philosophy of Asian calligraphy. Getting calligraphy writing in a one shot, with energy in each stroke and in an extreme concentration. When i do Light-painting i look like a disciple of tai-chi-chuan.
Phoblographer: How did you go about perfecting the technique?
Julien: By working each calligraphy session until I solved all the problems of the composition. I repeat à lot and i’m exigent.
Phoblographer: What made you choose the specific locations, compositions and scenes that you did?
Julien: Total improvisation. We had chance with my dance company to perform in different country. So, each time it become for David and me a playground..
Phoblographer: How much further do you plan on going? Maybe painting out entire paragraphs if at all possible?
Julien: I am working nowadays With Cisco and will from studio Light-painting to create a new live show With their Light painting video real time system. This system we used for the communication campaign INGELEC.
And we have a tour in Algery planned for october With Turn off the Light. Sure; each year i discover new body techniques to be more precise.