For the particular project with Apple, called “Tree of Light,” Darren “sketches” his work midair with a handheld light, taking long-exposure photos with the NightCap Pro app on iPhone 6s Plus. And as Apple notes, the “Apple Watch acts as a viewﬁnder throughout the process, giving Darren a live preview of his drawing as it takes shape.” We note in the gallery above about which piece in particular “Tree of Light” is.
As Darren says of his work, “My work is a combination of illustration and photography; an art form which is not confined to canvas, but allows nocturnal environments to become the backdrop, an LED light to become the paintbrush, and long exposure photography to capture the painting. Most of my light-paintings relate to humanity, ecosystems, and natural history because I’m fascinated by these universal contexts. By painting these subjects, I’m not conforming to any particular race or gender, because we all have skeletons that propel our bodies through space and time. It’s the spirit that counts.”
Here is our interview with Darren…
Juxtapoz: One of the things that interests me about your work is the chicken or the egg aspect of it: were you a painter first or a photographer first?
Darren Pearson: I was an illustrator first, photographer second.
When did your begin to explore the realm of what you do now? Was there a genesis that you look back on and say “at this point, I started working with LED lights and long-exposure?”
It stems from the ‘Picasso Draws a Centaur’ photograph – I saw that image and it made me re-think my idea of modern photography as a lazy person’s artform. The photographer can physically make art happen in front of the lens while the photograph is being taken, I wanted to expand on what Picasso had started back in 1949.
For you, what are the best nights to shoot?
Full Moon or New Moon. A full moon will showcase the environment whereas a new moon lets the stars shine bright, unimpeded.
And, just give us a rundown of what the process of a shoot really is?
A shoot for me is researching a location via satellite, checking the weather, moon/star phase, doing some pre-sketches, hopping in a car, and possibly camping near the spot. I try to scout locations before the sun sets so I know potential hazards and get a general vibe of the environment.
The actual shoot is a bit of trial and error. I get the night scene first, then dial in a composition with simple light-shapes, then I perform the light-art, which can come easy or difficult depending on the subject and luck.
Read the full interview here!