Light painting photographer Nocturne has been capturing photographs for ten years and discovered light painting in 2006. He was introduced to light painting when he stumbled across some images of fellow night photographer Troy Paiva. Nocturne has witnessed some paranormal activity while he was out creating his images and in one of the scariest moments of his life he actually had a heart attack when he was light painting alone in the middle of nowhere! He light paints because it makes him feel free, Nocturne says he is most comfortable at night. View some of his images, read his full light painting photography interview below, and for even more information check out his website www.noctography.co.uk
Light Painting Photography interview conducted by Jason D. Page in 2010
1. What is your name? – Chris Benbow
2. Do you have an alias that you go by? [Nocturne]
3. Are you a soloist or are you part of a Light Painting group? If a group who is in your group? I work on my own.
4. What education do you have? School, college and university all in photography.
5. What is your occupation? Night photographer isn’t really an occupation but it’s what I do.
6. How long have you been a photographer? About 10 years now
7. How long have you been light painting? 4/5 years
8. How did you discover Light Painting Photography? I found some work by fellow night photographer Troy Paiva and had to give it ago.
9. What was your first Light Painting Image? I don’t have the very first image due to a hard drive melt down but I have two from the first night that I am quite proud of, One mans junk is another mans treasure and, burn out.
10. Film or Digital? I’ve experimented with both but due to money digital is just more practical, film is more of an art form.
11. Do you believe in aliens? I’ve seen a fair bit of “paranormal activity” while out at night, without concrete evidence no one can prove or disprove the theory but I’ll be open minded enough to say either is a possibility.
12. What is your standard Light Painting Photography setup? Canon 5D mkii – Canon speedlite 580EX – Benbo tripod – flash gels – head lamp, is usually kep it simple and travel light.
13. What is your favorite color? I do like Red but colour is usually something that is matched to the subject matter.
14. Who influences your Light Painting Photography work? Troy Paiva, Eric Staller, Lance Keimig, Dan Heller, Tim Baskerville a few of the classics.
15. Who is your favorite Light Painting Artist? Troy Paiva, he was my full inspiration for starting this and having shot with him our styles and techniques are quite similar.
16. What is your favorite food? I like simple foods – Cheese sandwiches, cheesey pancakes, chips, chicken dinners, waffles and pancakes. Nothing too fancy like. All washed down with a glass of dr pepper.
17. Do you create in any other mediums other than light painting? If so what are they? I like to make films, and love film photography, I’ll always try anything creative once.
18. What is your favorite Light Painting Photography image that you have created? – I have to say I have a few, but this is something that can change every time I go out, each time I better my technique or come out with a new master piece I get a new favorite image, the latest one is, of an abandoned train.
19. What is your favorite Light Painting Photography image of another artist? I have two, one is a car taken by Troy Paiva, and the other is the light mobile by Eric staller.
20. What is the most difficult part of Light Painting Photography? I think just the risk or what I do is a big element now, with all the laws changing and so on, because I shoot in abandoned locations I get a lot of hassle from literally everybody. The photography part is the bit I’m good at, getting myself out of trouble is not something I’m good at.
21. How do you get you Light Painting Photography work seen? – I don’t particularly use a form of advertising, word of mouth is a big part locally but the Internet does the rest, flickr and other social networking sites. Blogs, websites and so on. I;ve held a few exhibitions, sold some prints, display work, magazine publications. All helps get me seen.
22. Do you sell your Light Painting Photography work? – Yes, to anyone who wants it, nothing fancy like art selling websites, through my website and through people I meet usually want to buy at least one.
23. Are you represented by a gallery? – not currently, it is something I wish to do just not found the time.
24. Where can we see more of your work? www.noctography.co.uk – www.flickr.com/light_painter – I have large prints up at several locations around the uk.
25. What is your favorite quote? William Fox Talbot – one of the inventors of photography said around time of inventing – “I can’t draw so I invented photography” Always makes me laugh.
26. Who is your favorite artist? I have always had a soft spot for Picasso, he did some light drawing in the 50’s which are just way ahead of their time.
27. What is you favorite activity other than light painting? I enjoy skateboarding, making films, and spending time with my wife and son.
28. Tell me a good light painting story. So many good memories have spun from night photography it’s hard to pick one. I’ll go with something funny that was good for me, me and a friend were photographing an old British bred phone box, it was about 4am, and when I went in to light paint the phone box I took down the number of phone box, when my friend went in to do some light painting, I rang the phone box, he practically wet his pants, and was terrified, I acted all creeped out and went and answer the phone and then said to him “it’s for you” again he was terrified, I then laughed and told him it was me. After this I was sat in the car, and he came over to me saying he could hear a little ghost girl calling him. I’ll never forget that night.
29. Tell me a nightmare light painting story. I have hundreds! So many I could tell, some I can’t! I think I’ll settle with one that always gets me worked up.
I was at a pretty bad point in my life and was taking out my problems on my passion, not in an angry way, but I was, skateboarding all day, and taking pictures all night, I did this for about a month till one night I was out doing a star trail and I collapsed on the ground, not really being able to move and not having signal on my phone I had to drag myself and my equipment back to my car, get myself in, struggle driving home, getting home, crawling up the stairs to get my parents out of bed to help me to hospital, I knew what was happening, I was having a heart attack. I spent the next week or so in hospital resting and recovering, after this point I slowed down a little and took it easy for a bit.
30. Have you ever been arrested or ticketed for light painting? Too many times to tell.
31. What do you say to people when they see you light painting and they ask “what the hell are you doing”? some people are understanding some people are not, some people have made there mind up before they have spoken to you that they will kick your ass for trespassing. All you can do is explain your situation and show them some work. In some situations you do have to RUN.
32. Where do you find inspiration for your Light Painting Photography? The internet mainly, sometimes inspiration just comes from the location I’m at.
33. Who would you like to punch? A light painter who I will not name who has caused me a lot of grief.
34. Who would you like to kiss? My wife, every day
35. Why do you Light Paint? It makes me free, it makes me feel relaxed and comfortable, I do not like the day time, I feel settled at night.
36. What is your favorite time to shoot? When it gets dark and before it gets light.
37. What is your favorite subject to shoot? Abandoned – Trains/Planes/Cars/Buildings anything that’s falling to pieces.
38. Where is your favorite place to shoot? A nice plane graveyard down south in the UK.
39. If you could travel anywhere to Light Paint where would you go? Arizona Desert to the biggest plane graveyard in the world.
40. Have you ever invented a Light Painting Photography tool? If so what was it and how did it work? I did invent my own word for night photography – Noctography, I’m not going to claim tool inventions like some people do, because chances are they didn’t invent it.
41. Do you ever get sick of explaining your work to people? Never I always love to see people expressions about my work, I get sick of people saying it’s photoshop when it’s not.
42. How many times have you heard the work photoshop when someone was describing or asking about your work? Haha MOST TIMES. I like to stand near my work at exhibitions and listen to what people say, this butt in when some snob says “oh yes this is all computer manipulation”
43. What makes you happy? My family, light painting, skateboarding and being in abandoned locations.
44. What makes you mad? Fake people who try and steal my work or take credit for something I’ve done.
45. What part of Light Painting Photography do you enjoy the most? The results, the time doing what you do to get such an amazing result, nothing beats that feeling.
46. What part of Light Painting Photography do you hate the most? Being busted, getting injured, being 200 miles away from home shooting and it starts raining.
47. Do you have a website? If yes what is the address? www.noctography.co.uk
48. What is Light Painting Photography? Photography done at night using long exposures and using light sources to paint on to the image.
49. Give me some advice for anyone that might like to try Light Painting Photography. Just ask, There’s plenty of experienced people on the internet, and myself and most people I’ve met are always happy to help.
50. Are you scared of the dark? Nah, I couldn’t do this if I was.