Light Painting Photography Duo Lightmark is made up of gifted photographers Cenci Goepel and Jens Warnecke. Together these two create some of the most beautiful light painted naturescapes you will ever see. Their images include organic light forms that compliment the beautiful landscapes they travel great distances to discover. They have been light painting since 1998 and like with many other light painters their discovery of the art form happened by chance. The discovery came doing their first trip together while sitting in a VW van next to a frozen lake in Norway. Jens says this of their epiphany “We were sitting in our VW van drinking mulled wine, playing around with candles, lighters and long exposure times. Suddenly we had the urge to go out into the cold, into this still and sparse mountain landscape. The Soil around the VW was slippery and we moved with outstretched Arms around. A strange atmosphere! No light, just the full moon; no sound, just the two monsters with a camera and a tripot sliding around on the ice and use their flashlights to paint patterns of light in the darkness.” Their light painting work has been seen in numerous magazines and in international exhibitions. Check out some of their breath taking images and read their entire light painting photography interview below, for even more images and information check out their website HERE.
Light Painting Photography Interview conducted by Jason D. Page in 2012
What are your names?
C: My name is Cenci Goepel.
J: Jens Warnecke
Do you have an alias that you go by?
J: We call what we do “Lightmark“ – maybe that serves as an alias.
Who is in your group?
C: There are two of us.
J: I work together with Cenci Goepel. Light painting can benefit a lot from working together. You can do much more interesting things if there is one person in front of the camera, and one behind.
What education do you have?
C: I hope a good one. I studied photography, design and motion picture.
J: Lots of it but it didn‘t help. I studied literature, philosophy, psycholo- gy and cognitive science at university but never finished anything.
What is your occupation?
C: I`m a photographer and make computer animation in 2D, 2.5D and 3D.
J: Photographer mainly. But I also work as film maker, cutter, camera man, graphics- and animation designer.
How long have you been a photographer?
C: My first take was with my fathers camera, a Minolta X300. I
made b/w portraits of my friends and processed them in my dark room.
J:Always. My father loved cameras and there were always plenty of them around in my childhood. It was in the family – my sister also be- came a professional photographer.
How long have you been light painting?
We came up with the idea during our first trip together in 1998, on a frozen lake in Norway.
We were sitting in our VW van drinking mulled wine, playing around with candles, lighters and long exposure times. Suddenly we had the urge to go out into the cold, into
this still and sparse mountain landscape. The Soil around the VW was slippery and we moved with outstretched Arms around.
A strange atmosphere! No light, just the full moon; no sound, just the two monsters with a camera and a tripot sliding around on the ice and use their flashlights to paint patterns of light in the darkness. The cam- era time stands on “infinite”.
There are three photos of this event: Written in light, one of them says “Cenci”, another “Jens” and the word “Nature” floats in the third.
How did you discover Light Painting Photography?
What was your first Light Painting Image?
Film or Digital?
C: We painted our first three photos mirror-inverted, because
of the photosensitive layer on the slide-film. We thought it is very im- portant for the sharpness. Back in Germany, we saw that we have com- pletely other Problems. So I ́m very happy to shot today with a digital camera.
J: We started on Film and moved to digital later. (6cm x 7cm medium format)
Do you believe in aliens?
J: More than in god.
What is your standard Light Painting Photography setup?
J: We use a Phase One AF 645 camera with a p45+ digital back. We always look for an interesting scenery. When we find one, we try not to do to much light painting – it‘s so easy to spoil a good picture with all the light.
What is your favorite color?
J: Black – at least when it comes to cars. And white when it comes to light painting. We used to experiment a lot with lights in all colors and shapes. But when the pictures looked like a bag of candy, we came back to the basics.
C: I love natural light with all there color combinations and contrast.
Who influences your Light Painting Photography work?
J: We are all influenced by everything that is around us. Be it the people
we know, the books we read, the music we hear, the movies we see and increasingly the advertising junk that is dominating our culture. What to pick in particular?
C: Edward Munch, Rebecca Horn, Damien Hirst, Andreas Gursky
and Haruki Murakami.
Who is your favorite Light Painting Artist?
J: Man, you ask difficult questions here.
C: I love the “Demonstrations” from Caleb Charland
What is your favorite food?
J: That one is easy:
Indian curry „Madras“ Red Thai curry
Indian curry „Vindaloo“
I like the curries best if they are vegetarian and if the chili peppers used are fatali. The last point is rare – that‘s why we do a lot of home cook- ing.
But there is one more interesting thing to consider: I think food tastes best if there is not to much of it around. The most enjoyable meals I ever had, were when I was hiking or climbing. Very simple things like pasta with pesto, bread with cheese or just some cookies taste really great, after you carry them around in your rucksack for days.
C: I like food with tasty ingredients.
Do you create in any other mediums other than light paint- ing? If so what are they?
C: I`m drawing, shooting, printing, painting and laughing.
J: Yes, I experiment a lot with other forms of photography, as well as graphics and 3d animation.
What is your favorite Light Painting Photography image that you have created?
J: Today it is: http://lightmark.de/lightmark_119.htm
but that changes frequently…
C: Currently I love No.106. You see the Seljalandsfoss. It is one of the most famous waterfalls of Iceland.
This water falls 60 metres (200 ft) over the cliffs of the former coast- line. You can see this photo here: http://www.lightmark.de/light- mark_106.htm
What is your favorite Light Painting Photography image of another artist?
J: …that changes even more frequently.
C: Four Spheres with Compass, Penlight, and Drill from Cale Char- land.
What is the most difficult part of Light Painting Photogra- phy?
J: To bring it all together. Making a nice long exposure photo is easy with the immediate feedback digital cameras provide. Doing interesting looking things with a light source in front of the camera is also easy. But to bring the two together in a meaningful and con- sistent composition is what almost always goes wrong.
C: In addition to curiosity and the desire to experiment there is one thing that is most important for the kind of photography we en- gage in: patience. It sometimes takes days experimenting on the spot in order to get things just right and pretty often the weather changes or something else goes wrong and we are forced to let
go on a motive.
How do you get you Light Painting Photography work seen?
Mainly through our website but also through exhibitions, articles in magazines and books.
Do you sell your Light Painting Photography work?
Sometimes but we don‘t rely on it. You can buy a selection here: www.lumas.com/artist/cenci_goepel_jens_warnecke/
Are you represented by a gallery?
Some of our photographs are available at LUMAS
Where can we see more of your work?
What is your favorite quote?
C: Well, we want to pass the message that there is something funda-
mentally wrong with the way we live and organise our societies. That we have to work hard to overcome greed as the basis of our economy and that we have to distribute wealth, education, health and culture much more even within our societies as well as globally. But we are not quite sure, how to find all this in our pictures.
What is you favorite activity other than light painting?
Tell me a good light painting story.
There was a full moon…
Tell me a nightmare light painting story. It was raining all night…
Have you ever been arrested or ticketed for light painting?
No, we tend to choose places where there are no other people around at night.
What do you say to people when they see you light painting and they ask “what the hell are you doing”?
We show them the pictures.
If you could travel anywhere to Light Paint where would
C: There are so many beautiful places on earth. So here is my wishing list:
1. Meoto Iwa in Japan
2. Dracaena Tree on Socotra, Jemen 3. Baobas in Madagascar
4. Icecave in Kverkfjöll Iceland
5. Mount Bromo on Java …
the list is endless.
J: Enceladus. I bet the cryovolcanoes at its south pole look great against crescent Saturn with the other 61 moons gently zooming by…
Have you ever invented a Light Painting Photography tool? If so what was it and how did it work?
C: We try to keep it simple.
What part of Light Painting Photography do you enjoy the most?
J:Beeing outdoors at night.
What part of Light Painting Photography do you hate the most?
J: That the best time for it is at night. I tend to get tired at 10 pm.
Do you have a website? If yes what is the address?
What is Light Painting Photography?
J: Not quite there jet. I‘m looking forward to see it evolve.
Give me some advice for anyone that might like to try Light Painting Photography.
There are a few core rules that help our photography:
Know your equipment and what it can do for you, especially your lamps wear black, move fast when you’re in the frame and avoid shining light on yourself. Find good sources of ambient light and use them to add depth to your shot. Don‘t be so engrossed with
your ingenious light painting that you forget to consider the overall composition of your photograph
Collaboration helps to achieve better results. Keep your ISO low to avoid noise
Are you scared of the dark?
J: No. At least not in Europe where there are proper gun control laws around.