Based out of Hobe Sound, Florida, photographer Jason D Page has been creating light painting photographs for over a decade. Jason is also the creator of the Light Painting Brushes system, a collection of specialty lighting tools designed with light painters in mind. We had previously featured some of Jason’s work here on the Phoblographer: These Faces Were Created With Long Exposure Light Painting and his “Lady of the Lake”. Most recently, Jason did a light painting portrait project with the artists performing at iHeartRadio’s Wango Tango music festival in Los Angeles, and shared his experiences with us.
Phoblographer: How did this project come to fruition? Did you team up with the other creatives and pitch it to iHeartRadio, or did they contract you each individually for this project?
Jason: iHeartRadio reached out to me via my Instagram business page for Light Painting Brushes. They wrote me and asked if I would be interested in creating Light Paintings of all the main stage artist at Wango Tango, of course I couldn’t type yes fast enough! I was very excited about the opportunity to not only work with all the musicians but also about exposing light painting to so many people that had never seen the art form before!
Phoblographer: What inspired you to get into light painting photography?
Jason: In 2004 I was out shooting some long exposures of the ocean on a full moon night and I accidentally bumped my camera, when I checked the exposure and saw that the moon had left a light streak across the sky I had an epiphany. In that moment I looked at my camera in a whole new way. I don’t know why it had never dawned on me before but in that moment I realized that my camera was simply an instrument for recording light. I have been a light painter ever since that moment.
Phoblographer: How did you prepare for the project as a whole?
Jason: When iHeartRadio reached out to me it was only about a week before the event so I was very limited on time to make it happen. iHeartRadio was responsible for creating a dark space for us to work in and I was responsible for creating, editing, and delivering the images. I knew I was going to need some help so I brought in Light Painters Efren Herrera and Darren Pearson. Efren and Darren are extremely talented artist and very professional, I knew I could count on them to get the job done. I flew in from Florida a day before the shoot and met up with Darren in LA, we went to check the space and do some testing. The booth was good but we had a lot of light leaks to fix and technical aspects to work out. Efren and his very helpful assistant Melissa Meyer flew in on the morning of the shoot because they had a light painting workshop the night before in Indianapolis. As soon as they arrived we went straight to the venue and did some more test shots and finalized all the technical details of shooting, displaying, editing, and delivering the images for the very short turnaround time that iHeartRadio needed to get the images posted on their social media pages during the event.
Phoblographer: Each of the portraits all have a distinctive look to them, did you try to tailor the light painting effects to each of the performers?
Jason: We did a little of both. Thankfully Darren Pearson had sketched out numerous ideas for each of the artists! We had a list of artists that were “supposed” to be coming into the booth so we brainstormed on what would work best for each of them. When various artists came in unexpectedly we just winged it!
Phoblographer: How much time did you have with each of the performers at the concert? What was it like to work with these artists, and what was most memorable about the project?
Jason: We had very limited time with each of the artists, on average it was around 2 minutes. Most of the images were created in just one take! If you are familiar with light painting you will know that it pretty difficult to get a good image on your first take so we were very happy with what we created. Everyone we worked with was great!
The two things that really stood out to me was that working with the musicians as models was very easy because they got it right away. We briefly explained that they needed to hold still for the entire exposure and they were like statues! I guess that comes from all the photo work they are used to. The other thing that stood out is that the joy and excitement from the artists themselves when they first saw the image pop up on the display screen! These are people that have seen thousands of images taken of themselves before. It was really cool to create an image of a celebrity that was something unlike anything they had seen before! It was great to share the magic and joyful feeling that is light painting photography!
Phoblographer: What are you shooting with these days?
Jason: For the Wango Tango event my set up was the Canon 6D Mark II with the manual Rokinon 14mm. For film I shoot with a 35mm Canon AE1. Recently I have been really enjoying creating light paintings using a Lomo Instant Camera, there is something special about there only being one true original print that pops out of the camera as soon as the shutter closes.
Phoblographer: Do you have any other projects planned on the horizon?
Jason: I am working on numerous projects! I am traveling this summer to some epic light painting locations and filming the vlog. It’s a passion of mine to share light painting with the world so I am working on releasing several new Light Painting Tutorials! I am also launching some new Light Painting Tools with Light Painting Brushes! If you would like to stay up to date with all my light painting you can follow my work on Instagram and Facebook!