~IMPORTANT TO NOTE~
Each light painted photograph is a single-exposure that came straight off the camera as-is. There is no post-processing (computer manipulation) involved with any of Jordan’s light painted photographs.
Jordan Kjome is a self-taught light painting photographer who grew up in scenic Decorah, Iowa. Through his childhood and beyond, frequent camping, canoeing, and fossil hunting trips in the Driftless region helped him develop his immense appreciation of nature.
Jordan began photography in 2012, and specializes in light painting, a technique that involves “painting” with light while using a single long exposure. The natural beauty of the Decorah area has provided him with endless opportunities for creative freedom. The experience of being in the moment, fully awake, aware of and witness to nature’s beauty, is the essence of Jordan’s photography. He aims to capture this experience and to share it with others through his photography and his manipulations of light.
Jordan’s light painted photographs are never digitally manipulated. Instead, he spends many hours on location practicing and altering a shot until the result matches or surpasses his original vision. Jordan has won light painting photography contests and has been featured in numerous local publications. He presents his light painted photographs annually at local art festivals, and is currently preparing to host workshops for light painting.
What is my technique for producing these images?
My style of photography is commonly called “light painting”. Light painting involves the use of physical light tools and a long camera shutter, typically 30 seconds to many minutes in length. The photos take place in the dark of night, and any light tool that moves in front of my camera’s lens will leave behind a tracer, allowing me to light paint designs on the photo. Casting light onto once-dark areas allows me to illuminate specific parts of the scene, such as illuminating one pine tree purple and another blue, using a spotlight and colored gels. I am moving all over the frame while my camera’s shutter is open, but I am able to work invisibly in most cases without showing up in the photograph. I do this by wearing all black. This allows my body to absorb light instead of reflecting it back into my camera’s lens.
How do I describe my approach to making photographs?
I typically approach new photographs by hiking at night without an illumination source. This is where I find my inspiration because I stumble across potential shots in the dark, which allows me to better envision my composition and the ways in which to incorporate my light tools. I then return to the scene with my entire light tool collection in hand. Once my camera is setup on my tripod, I begin to experiment in front of the lens. I typically produce dozens of photographs as I practice each step necessary to create the final vision. Once I feel confident with my ability to create every step, I attempt the final photograph. Most of my more elaborate shots involved two to three hours of experimenting and practicing before I arrived at the final photograph, and my average exposure time is anywhere from one to thirty minutes.
What would I like people to know about my work?
I am frequently asked how I produce my photographs. I always start off by explaining that my photographs are not produced on the computer. I use physical light sources such as LED lights, sparklers, fireworks, glow sticks, colored gels over spotlights, or anything that illuminates as a light tool. My photographs come straight off my camera “as-is” with no post-editing. If I don’t like the outcome of the photograph, I repeat it until I am satisfied. The last thing I tell people is that light painting is easy and fun! If you can trace out a star or write your name in the air with the tip of your finger, then you can light-paint! Most cameras have the ability to keep an open shutter for up to 30 seconds, so grab a flashlight or a sparkler and play around. Chances are addiction will set in quickly!
Light Tool Collection- 2014