Jadikan is a French light painter who spreads the light all over the world, especially in France and Eastern Asia. Actually, it was in an isolated place in North Laos that he found the light for the first time. “It was in 2005, trying long exposures with a compact camera and several candles, says Jadikan. “Limited to eight seconds exposure, the first attempts were just a hook… One year later, I started to use a reflex camera, which allows longer exposure time. From then, I started to make new light tools and in 2008, I eventually focused myself on personal projects such as the Jadikan Lightning Project.”
Through the light painting, Jadikan transforms a picture and a background into a completely different image. He uses the light to paint new figures and create a parallel universe. “I am one of those who think of photography as a discipline. I like to experiment with this medium in different ways and go further than a point-and-shoot. My main visual inspiration comes from what can be called ‘street art’ or ‘land art’. I mean what people can do to change a space or a moment by playing with the surroundings.”
Urban Landscape: Flowers in Paris
Jadikan transforms any dull and uninspiring place into a magical area. What’s his secret? “A camera and a tripod set up in a dark place and at least one source of light,” he says. Sounds simple? Basically, the light painting, also called light drawing or light graffiti, is a photographic technique using long exposures in a dark place, by playing with a light source to draw and create images of light superimposed over the background. The long exposure is essential as it permits the camera to record the movements of the light source. “Using a tripod as a frame and a remote control to allow exposure time of more than 30 seconds is also useful. I use different homemade or tuned flash torches as well, to fit the effect wanted.” The results can be freaky!
Haunted Castle – South of France
This is the funny and creative part of the work. Let your imagination fly to create new tools and play with shapes and colors for specific results: a blue square, a red circle, or a yellow watering can. Any object that can be imagined. “Knowing about your different light tools takes time. The most important thing is to get the final image in mind before doing it. The most difficult thing might be to reach this target.”
The Magic Forest
Jadikan, which in Malaysian means “to create”, to make”, “to transform”, is the essence of his project, which goes by the same name. Jadikan is not a professional photographer, but a passionate one. He learned everything on his own, digging everywhere to understand the basics and the lighting techniques. “It took almost two years before I knew that other people had already played with light and photography. I never studied this topic at school and I learned step by step who the first light painters were.” “I started to learn with an old reflex camera, and black and white film. At the time, I started to train myself in abandoned buildings and disused factories. From the shot to the printing in the dark room, it was a good way to understand how this works! After that, I started to use a digital camera, and new opportunities were offered.” The result is definitely awesome!
Aesthetics in an urban complex
Even if light painting is a modern concept, photographers and artists did not wait to play with light in their works. From Frank Gilbreth to Picasso, there were a lot of artists who experimented with light drawing and light compositions. However, the turning point appeared with the use of numeric photography.
No computer manipulations!
The popularity of light painting has increased year on year. It is now common to find it in adverts, TV commercials or festivals for instance. Light painting tutorials and community groups swarm on the web, and new names, such as Lichtfaktor or Lightmark, have emerged from the shadows as well. Following the stream, Jadikan is currently in Nepal for another light trip. He keeps going to transform a place, a background, a moment, through new projects and new exhibitions. He has a creative spirit, inspired by his curiosity and his talent. And when we ask him what the real challenge is? “Have fun! It is the most important thing during those kinds of ‘happening’. Taking time in dark places, trying to make the perfect movement… It is very enjoyable to use this medium with friends for common creation!”