Light Painting Photographer Jake Saari, also known as Ectro, is figuratively and literally underground. Jake has been capturing his light painting imagery since 2007. He spends many hours exploring the subterranean world, searching for the perfect darkness. Jake doesn’t have a website, he doesn’t have a gallery, he doesn’t even sell his work, but he should! When asked why he light paints Jake says this “It’s an exploration into the deepest parts of my environment and mind. It is my continued education and the work of my life.” If Light Painting Photography is Jake’s form of continued education, he is well on the way to earning his doctorate degree. Oh and one more thing, Jake’s roommate is none other than light painting virtuoso Dana Maltby, a.k.a. TCB, with these two bouncing ideas off each other there is no limit to what they can produce. View some of Jake’s images, read his full Light Painting Photography interview below, and check out even more of his work via his Flickr page HERE.
Light Painting Photography Interview with Artist Jake Saari
1. What is your name? Jake Saari
2. Do you have an alias that you go by? ectro
3. Are you a soloist or are you part of a Light Painting group? If a group who is in your group? I guess I started kind of just doing it myself, but then I moved to the Twin Cities so I could more easily meet up with other artists. I still go out by myself because sometimes that’s when I find the most personal inspirations.
4. What education do you have? Real world experiences and the internet
5. What is your occupation? Which ever low-key, low-paying job is easiest to find.
6. How long have you been a photographer? I was a photographer for a few years before I graduated to light painting.
7. How long have you been light painting? A good definition for LP still eludes me, but I’ve been using flashlights and long exposures since some time in 2007.
8. How did you discover Light Painting Photography? I never knew the possibilities until I stumbled upon the Light Junkies flickr group.
9. What was your first Light Painting Image? It was probably some indoor macro of a dead bug I needed more light for.
10. Film or Digital? Either, yet almost exclusively digital because it is nearly impossible to setup these types of exposures on film. Try it.
11. Do you believe in aliens? Oh yea.
12. What is your standard Light Painting Photography setup? A huge backpack full of stuff. Camera, tripod, lighting stuff, and a kaleidoscope usually. Then there’s the essentials of water, food, couple random tools, and beer.
13. What is your favorite color? Orange – I like all of the colors though.
14. Who influences your Light Painting Photography work? I draw from all over the place. Other light painters are huge in giving me inspiration and motivation. Music gives me a rhythm and confidence.
15. Who is your favorite Light Painting Artist? I dunno. I like all of it. There are definitely some different styles going on all over the world. I really want to see it continue.
16. What is your favorite food? Anything, and then a lot more of it.
17. Do you create in any other mediums other than light painting? If so what are they? Nothing too notable I guess. I’m trying to combine all sorts of mediums within LP. Light paintings of paintings on sculptures are of a particular interest.
18. What is your favorite Light Painting Photography image that you have created? This one picture of a light creature and a kaleidoscope that is pretty creepy. I like it the most because of the setting I was in.
19. What is your favorite Light Painting Photography image of another artist? Can’t say I have a favorite.
20. What is the most difficult part of Light Painting Photography? Coming up with the new tools and techniques. The ideas come at such unpredictable times, and as if they cannot be thought of by choice. They slowly seep into conciousness from dreams.
21. How do you get you Light Painting Photography work seen? I just put it online via my flickr.
22. Do you sell your Light Painting Photography work? Pretty sure I’ve never sold one.
23. Are you represented by a gallery? No galleries.
24. Where can we see more of your work? My Flickr Page
25. What is your favorite quote? I don’t really have a favorite quote.
26. Who is your favorite artist? Don’t have a favorite artist either.
27. What is you favorite activity other than light painting? Thinking about light painting.
28. Tell me a good light painting story. The other day when I randomly ran into some of my friends in a tunnel.
29. Tell me a nightmare light painting story. When I’m in a tunnel by myself and I hear/see things that aren’t there. Pretty scary, but not too bad.
30. Have you ever been arrested or ticketed for light painting? I’ve gotten a couple parking tickets. Never been caught lurking.
31. What do you say to people when they see you light painting and they ask “what the hell are you doing”? Nobody sees me light painting because I’m either underground or somewhere very dark and sparse.
32. Where do you find inspiration for your Light Painting Photography? I find inspiration in every day life. The simplest, most “insignificant” objects often represent the greatest ideas.
33. Who would you like to punch? I don’t feel like punching anyone. I’ve never been in a serious fight.
34. Who would you like to kiss? Someone that would kiss me back.
35. Why do you Light Paint? It’s an exploration into the deepest parts of my environment and mind. It is my continued education and the work of my life.
36. What is your favorite time to shoot? About 1:30PM so I can sleep in, be lazy, and commit my whole day to it.
37. What is your favorite subject to shoot? I like kaleidoscopes. People are my least favorite unless I can really distort them.
38. Where is your favorite place to shoot? This tunnel I can walk to from my house, or along the shores of Lake Superior.
39. If you could travel anywhere to Light Paint where would you go? I really want to LP along the Amazon River and deep inside the pyramids.
40. Have you ever invented a Light Painting Photography tool? If so what was it and how did it work? Yes, I have a couple of tools I’ve come up with, but I can’t tell you the secrets behind the magic!
41. Do you ever get sick of explaining your work to people? It depends who it is. Most people won’t get it, so I don’t force it. I really do like explaining it though.
42. How many times have you heard the work photoshop when someone was describing or asking about your work? All the time. It’s like everyone expects you to photoshop it. It’s just not a part of my work flow. For me, once I capture the image it is complete.
43. What makes you happy? Vivid dreams and new locations.
44. What makes you mad? Not getting the shot after putting in the work.
45. What part of Light Painting Photography do you enjoy the most? Being in the middle of the exposure and getting that nervous/anxious feeling while I carefully put light where it needs to go. Can’t beat that.
46. What part of Light Painting Photography do you hate the most? The fact that it is “photography”. I like to think I create images, not take photographs. It’s more like magic, or alchemy, or a secret military mission to me. Other than that, I especially despise the use of post production for a medium that allows you to achieve the desired effect in camera.
47. Do you have a website? If yes what is the address? No website.
48. What is Light Painting Photography? I could argue against any definition put upon it, but I’ll try. Light painting photography is capturing an image over time with the use of a moving, human-manipulated light.
49. Give me some advice for anyone that might like to try Light Painting Photography. Your lights are more important than your camera. Your location is more important than your lights. Your images are more important than anything else.
50. Are you scared of the dark? I need the dark. It’s too bad so many great locations are ruined because of light pollution.