Patrick Rochon on Creating Mesmerizing Light Painting Photos

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All images by Patrick Rochon. Used with permission.

Photographer Patrick Rochon has been creating light paintings for years that have kept us amazed; he’s shot for Red Bull, shot cars, models and even came out with his own lighting tools. The tools received a bit of an update and as we’ve always said: it’s not about the tools, it’s how you use them. While that applies lots of things, Patrick’s newest Kata tool is what he uses to create his specific vision.

While the tools are highly capable, we talked to Patrick about creativity when it comes to light painting.

Phoblographer: You’ve been light painting for years, but what made you want to develop the tools that you did?

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Patrick: Yes, I started light painting 23 years ago, but it’s really in the last 7 years that I’ve been pushing and building tools.

The reason is quite simple. Light painting is an old technique, but a new form of art. So much is being explored and discovered and expressed with light.

If you take the light painting kata for example, in my opinion, it’s a great art form that came after creating the Liteblade tools. The tool itself opened a new possibility.

The first reason was to have a three-dimensional tool that lights up. A simple flat torch can be limiting in some cases.

Phoblographer: How do these tools help you to actually create the scenes that you do.

Patrick: To express your image properly you need various textures. Every scenery, every image has a story and it needs the right light to express it. Ask any pro light painters, if you have the wrong light in a good scenery, it won’t work. You need to imagine, capture and create the moment–the mood. To find what works and fits in this scene; that is the real art of light painting.

Like previously mentioned, creating my own tools opens up new doors. I discovered that they are useful to create shapes around a model or to add textures in a background.

The three-dimensional aspect of it is key because in light painting you create and move in space, everywhere in 3D while capturing accumulated time so it’s kind of 4D. In the case of the kata, it’s an enlongation of my arm, my body moving and expressing the self, similar to martial arts except this is not for combat, it’s purely creative.

Phoblographer: The biggest part of creating excellent light paintings has to do with creativity; so where do you usually get your ideas? Do you sketch them out and storyboard?

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Patrick: Yes, creativity applies to all in everything we do, it’s a key for life and absolutely not reserved to the artist. Everyone should practice their creativity daily. Bad patterns are transformed through creativity.

This said, I’m so deep into what I do that it comes to me naturally, I’ve exercised it long enough, it is part of me now and can be applied to anything I do or set my mind to. Mainly it comes in quite time when I’m listening to the inner world, like before bed or when I wake up. Sometimes I nap or meditate to quite my mind and get back in touch with my breathing, it’s also a good time for the incautious to send tips and hints on the next step. It’s subtle, but it’s there.

Phoblographer: As you’ve evolved and become better over the years, what do you think were your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?

Patrick: Mainly they are personal blockages, limits, walls I discovered. We’ve all heard of the comfort zone, well I push myself outside of it. I had a phobia of being onstage so for years I spoke and performed on stage. Now in front of thousands of people I can speak or light paint. So it’s a question of going for the fears and overcoming them. It’s a question of expansion and transformation. If you look at babies growing, they go from microscopic and invisible to over a mere and a half. Talk about expansion and transformation. As an adult there is no reason to stop growing internally, emotionally, spiritually. If the culture of fear is in the way, kick it. You have all it takes to free yourself from it.

Phoblographer: Where do you typically draw inspiration from?

Patrick: Nature from micro to macro all the way to what we know of the universe. I’m in awe at the vastness of the layers we are swimming in. So, I express through light painting my best understanding of it all. Beyond intellect and all for the pleasure of creating.

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