Light Painter Janne Parviainen, also known as JANNEPAINT, is a full time artist who has been snapping photographs for over fifteen years. Like many light painters his discovery of the medium was an accident. In early 2007, Janne was out at night capturing long exposure photographs and accidentally bumped his camera, when he looked at his photograph the street lights had left streaks that appeared to be writing in the image; from that point on Janne was a Light Painter. Janne is well known for his light painting figures and recently he has been producing some amazing skeleton imagery. His favorite things about light painting are the urban exploration and the constant source of inspiration that it provides him. Janne is not only a talented light painter he is also an accomplished oil painter. He creates color painting on glass that are incredible! Read Janne’s full artist interview below and check out his website www.jannepaint.com.
Light Painting Photography interview conducted by Jason D. Page in 2011
1. What is your name? Janne Parviainen
2. Do you have an alias that you go by? Jannepaint
3. Are you a soloist or are you part of a Light Painting group? If a group who is in
your group? I’m a solo artist,but I do a lot of collaboration projects too, most often
with my wife Jenni Granqvist alias Missmoody and also with Finnish grafiti artists.
4. What education do you have? I have graduated from art school in 2003
5. What is your occupation? I am a fulltime artist, also I teach oil color painting few
times a week.
6. How long have you been a photographer? I have been photographing for some 15 years.
7. How long have you been light painting? Light painting I have been doing now about
8. How did you discover Light Painting Photography? I discovered light painting photography
through accident; I had forgotten long exposure mode on from my camera and noticed I can write
with streetlights by moving the camera while it was exposing. Later I posted the photos to
flickr and found the Light Junkies flickr group which inspired me to explore the medium further.
9. What was your first Light Painting Image? My first proper light painting image was a photo
called ‘Cyber Dream’, which was made using children’s toy finger led lights. I must say I’m
still quite satisfied with that photo!
10. Film or Digital? In light painting I prefer digital camera since it eases things a lot.
11. Do you believe in aliens? I believe there might be some sort of living creatures somewhere
in the universe, but I don’t think they would look like our scifi movie image of aliens at all.
12. What is your standard Light Painting Photography setup? The subjects in my light painting
photos tend to be quite often some sort of figures, for example lightmen or light skeletons
combined with urban exploration style backgrounds or Finnish nature landscapes.
13. What is your favorite color? I don’t think I have one single favorite color, it varies so
much depending on circumstances. I could say my favorite *painting* color is yellow ochre.
14. Who influences your Light Painting Photography work? I find seeing other people’s light painting
photos very inspiring, especially Light Junkies group in flickr always pushes the boundaries of light
painting further. When I started light painting I was very impressed of tdub303, tcb and LAPP-Pro’s
15. Who is your favorite Light Painting Artist? I think tcb is my alltime favorite light painting
16. What is your favorite food? I love food, but when it comes to my favorite food, lasagne and sushi
really are the top notch.
17. Do you create in any other mediums other than light painting? If so what are they? My main
profession is ainter, I do oil color paintings on glass, with subjects such as urban street
culture and graffiti as well as traditional nature landscapes. I also enjoy sculpting and video
editing a lot.
18. What is your favorite Light Painting Photography image that you have created? I think my
favorite light painting image is ‘Late Night Show’; an image I made with missmoody. It has a movie
theatre full of lightmen watching a movie. It was really challenging and fun to do, it has 15
lightmen and it took 20 minutes of exposure!
19. What is your favorite Light Painting Photography image of another artist? I have around two
thousand favorite photos in my flickr profile of which most are light painting photos so I don’t
think I can say which would be the number one for me, they’re all too damn good!
20. What is the most difficult part of Light Painting Photography? The trickiest part of light
painting is the fact you have to visualize everything you do into an three dimensional space.
21. How do you get you Light Painting Photography work seen? Flickr is the number one place for
me to get my photos seen, l have around 700-28 000 visitors a day in my photostream.
22. Do you sell your Light Painting Photography work? Selling photos is always rather tricky,
although magazine’s tend to pay fairly well of photos.
23. Are you represented by a gallery? I don’t have any specific gallery to represent me.
24. Where can we see more of your work? More of my work can be seen on my netsite jannepaint.com
25. What is your favorite quote? I don’t think I have any specific quote; well,
‘all people are equal’ is a good place to start!
26. Who is your favorite artist? My favorite artist must be Gustav Klimt, his paintings
27. What is you favorite activity other than light painting? I really enjoy reading,
listening to music and eating.
28. Tell me a good light painting story….I went out light paintig at about 3 am in July
and all the birds were singing and it was so quiet otherwise, the air was full of the most
amazing and pleasant scents and I really felt I was having the best time of my life! I just
stood there in the middle of the field and thought how everything can be so beautiful.
And even my photos turned out to be great! I wish life could be like that always!
29. Tell me a nightmare light painting story…I was light painting with my wife in an abandoned
mental hospital and we were in the dark, really scary looking cellar of the building when we heard
that someone came into the building from a nearby door. We tried to be veeery quiet and not get
noticed but about half a minute later there was this huge, bearded man on the doorway shouting to us!
Luckily it turned out he wasn’t a psycho wanting to kill us, but a janitor of the building. He had
seen us going into the building from his house across the street and went after us to see if we
were going to vandalize the building. It all went well in the end, he allowed us to continue
photographing after we had explained the situation, but still it freaked the hell of us!
30. Have you ever been arrested or ticketed for light painting? One time I was light painting in a
field about 500 meters from my house and I had taken a sword with me for the photo. When I came back
to my house, a police car came around the corner and stopped me to question me what I was doing with
a sword! Luckily they weren’t of an uptight sort, so I got away from the situation after I had shown
them the photos I had taken.
31. What do you say to people when they see you light painting and they ask “what the hell are you doing”?
I think I have heard that question about a million times already, nowadays I usually say I’m doing an
art performance since it’s easier than starting to explain the whole concept of light painting!
32. Where do you find inspiration for your Light Painting Photography? I find light painting a constant source of inspiration, my mind is just buzzing with new ideas all the time! It’s just so much fun to do!
33. Who would you like to punch? If there would be a person whom to blame of the current state of capitalism and globalisation, I would punch him!
34. Who would you like to kiss? I kiss my wife plenty, so my wish has already came true!
35. Why do you Light Paint? Light painting is the most liberating form of art I have encountered; it sums up so many good things in one package that I could never let go of it anymore!
36. What is your favorite time to shoot? My favorite time to light paint varies a lot; on the summer time it is so bright in Finland that the only time it is possible is from around 2 am to 5 am, but those hours really are magical! In the winter time I usually am light painting from around 6pm to 11pm.
37. What is your favorite subject to shoot?? I really enjoy shooting in abandoned places, urban exploration is very addicting!
38. Where is your favorite place to shoot? My favorite place to shoot is an abandoned mansion forest in the outskirts of Helsinki called Kruunuvuori. It is a really creepy looking old forest with 7 huge abandoned and halfly collapsed mansions that look like straight out of a horror movie! It’s a magical and an inspiring place!
39. If you could travel anywhere to Light Paint where would you go? My dream light painting place would be Egypt. I’d love to do a light painting in ancient ruins of Karnak or the pyramids.
40. Have you ever invented a Light Painting Photography tool? If so what was it and how did it work? I usually use only normal flashlights or led lights so I don’t think I can take credit of inventing anything terribly fancy…
41. Do you ever get sick of explaining your work to people? I think I can sum up the technique into quite short after all these years I have had to explain it, haha!
42. How many times have you heard the work photoshop when someone was describing or asking about your work?? I think Photoshop is a curse word among the light painters; it’s that often…
43. What makes you happy? I’m very happy when I take a great photo or after I finish a painting, those things are like a drug to me. Making people happy never ceases to do the same for you too!
44. What makes you mad? Seeing where the world is heading makes me mad.
45. What part of Light Painting Photography do you enjoy the most?? I love the ticklish feeling in my tummy just before getting into a new cool place to shoot.
46. What part of Light Painting Photography do you hate the most? I hate the feeling when you have to come back from a shooting trip with nothing proper to show of it, it is devastating.
47. Do you have a website? If yes what is the address? www.jannepaint.com
48. What is Light Painting Photography? Light painting and light drawing are ways of photography where photo is manipulated with different kind of light sources while the camera is exposing on a long exposure time in a dark or lowly lit place. The idea of the light painting is that all photos should be straight from the camera, without any post editing such as Photoshop, etc.
49. Give me some advice for anyone that might like to try Light Painting Photography…The exposure times used in light painting vary from few seconds to hours, depending on the desired effect. Often used tools for light painting are flashlights, colored flashes, led sticks, el wire (battery operated led wire), battery operated Christmas lights, childrens’ light toys such as light swords etc, or tools specially built for light painting. Colored flashes and flashlights are easy to make by placing different kind of colored gels on them. Colored flashes and flashlights are great for lighting up the scenery when taking photos in the dark, or just highlighting certain areas in the photo. By moving led sticks, flashlights and other light sources in the photos’ area while the camera is exposing it is possible to create different kind of shapes and effects.
When light painting it is recommended to use a tripod, or to place the camera on a steady ground since in long exposure times undesired trembling of the camera can easily ruin the photo. Even though camera’s light sensitivity raises when using higher ISO-characters, a small ISO-number guarantees a better photo quality when taking photos in the dark. Camera’s aperture figure is good to set according to the scenery’s overall lighting and to the brightness of the light tool used; In a low lit space and when using dimmer lights a small aperture figure works best, where as in a brighter space and when using powerful lights a bigger aperture figure is needed. When choosing for the correct aperture figure it is good to remember that even a very low lit scenery will turn out to be quite bright in the final picture when using long exposure times. A Bulb switch is a good purchase when wanting longer exposure times than the usual 30 seconds in the most DSLR cameras. In the dark it’s of great help to use a bright flashlight when focusing, also you can use camera’s autofocus with the flash and then locking the focus or turn the focus on manual witch has the same effect.
50. Are you scared of the dark? I used to be very afraid of the dark when I was a kid, but not now anymore which is a good thing light painting wise, haha!