Patrick Rochon is a light painter from Montreal, Canada. He has lived in New York, Paris, and Tokyo for 15 years. In 2008, Patrick came back to Montreal and called it his base. His work is done by moving lights by hand in the dark and capturing it with a camera. In 1992, he started by doing light painting photography and now does video light painting and performances. It was great to meet and have an interview with Patrick Rochon. We are glad to share this fantastic story about light painting by Patrick Rochon.
AP: Patrick, please tell us about your first works. What did they look like?
PR: I started with photography in 1985, then graduated from college in photography in 1991. In 1992, I discovered light painting, which was a photography effect back then, not a form of art. In 1997 on my way to Japan I realized that the medium was the light and photography the support for it so I said to myself, I’m a light painter and I do light painting, never looked back and I’ve been a light painter since then. As soon as I started my first light painting test, I saw something surprising and magical, like uncovering a new world impossible to see otherwise.
AP: Do you have any formal education in your sphere, or were you self-taught?
PR: As a light painter, I learned by myself that there was not much available on the subject back then. I think it’s the best way to learn, doing it over and over again. What’s great is that it’s still a “new” territory, lot’s can be done and explored with this medium. Now with the net, the information is spreading widely and quickly. It’s easy to learn the technique and see other people’s art. Witnessing this change, more and more light painters & light graffs are emerging. Light graff is a form of street light painting.
AP: What genre are your images?
PR: I love to reinvent myself, explore, explore, explore new grounds, and create images with people in them, like dancers, actors, and artists. I love doing portraits, and recently, I got back into doing nudes. The best thing with light painting is to flow with the light and let go of control. That’s where I see greatness.
AP: How would you describe your photos?
PR: Colourful, energetic, and high contrast. I think the word “energy” is the best one to describe my work. I see light painting as energy work all the way. Light is a great medium, so rich, so vast, and attractive. I like to get the wow factor. When people have nothing else to say than wow!
AP: What kind of equipment and techniques do you use to create your photography?
PR: Now, I combine a digital SLR Canon body with Nikon manual lenses. I use many flashlights, mainly LEDs and color gels. I also like to work with Kinoflow’s and some party toys with lights in it. Of course, a tripod and darkness. From time to time, I’ll use a small and held flash (Metz). Like other light painters, I built my own tools, some are very simple, others more sophisticated. See the PBS interviews. In the workshop, you can get a better idea:
AP: Would you consider yourself an expert in this sphere?
PR: Now, yes, absolutely. I also feel I can push it to a new level.
AP: What is the formula for success in your activity?
PR: First, I’m disciplined and work hard. I always believe it’s possible to make visions come true. I make my goals my mission and keep going at it till I reach it. Fix a target and hit it! Of course, now, with the web, it’s a different game, we have all the tools to spread our work and connect with people. Recently, I realized and integrated the importance of relationships, personal and professional. Your network, your connections, and how to create win-win situations is an important key.
AP: Is there someone who supports you in your creativity?
PR: I come from a very individualistic background and have done lots of collaborations. Recently, more friends are joining in and enriching the process. Also, recently, my dad has come to understand and support what I do; it makes a big difference.
AP: Would you like to wish something to your readers and AstrumPeople?
PR: Exercise and maximize both hemispheres of your brain. Be analytical and intuitive simultaneously. It’s one brain, and you need both sides to be complete and efficient. Like Wade Davis said in his TED talk, “Cultures were born from the imagination.” More than ever we need culture; it’s time to bring back imagination.
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