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I had been at a gathering the week before I created this image. This one woman was bald and naked among the other naked friends enjoying the great outdoors. I wanted to photograph her and asked if she'd model. She was not at all shy about her body and agreed to model the next weekend; when I suggested a photography session in a natural setting.
We went to Vasquez Rocks just outside of LA. My model Mumpf was climbing rocks in front of this cave-like carving in a giant rock formation; bathed in setting sun light. It reminded me of a womb, so I asked her to get inside and captured this precious and peace filled moment.
This shoot would later lead to the birth of my Spirit Body Process Performance Photography and become my "signature style."
This then, is the first image from my book project in process entitled, "FROM ROCKS TO DNA: DANCING ON THE EDGE OF TIME."
The book will contain a few shots like this, but mostly will feature my Spirit Body Process Photography and the descriptions of the amazing, unexpected and inspiring moments that enabled the creation of sacred light paintings.
The series is meant to illustrate the inextricable bond of Humans with all of nature, and the idea that our Bodies come and go, but our Spirit remains as a presence, influencing those that follow in our footsteps...on the sacred ground we've walked.
It was about three hours after Womb with a View was made, that I began a four hour time exposure that would result in the very first Spirit Body Process Light Painting and start my career as a light painter and true photographic artist.
I was shooting on film in those days with a Canon AE-1 on color negative stock. I took a test exposure at the Magic Time, right after sunset when the clouds take on their most colorful hues.
From this clue I calculated the f stop and timing needed to leave the shutter open. I extrapolated in order to be able to use a small F stop.
When the time was just right, I opened the shutter and waited until total darkness. It was pretty close to a New Moon. I knew that the model would not be seen, nor would I because of the low ISO and small aperture, the camera would only see the Chemilume light stick I used to outline the model.
By the time she was posed, the background had already registered on film to which only my lighting of her "aura" was added, creating a transparent Spirit.
I used a flashlight during the long exposure to illuminate the model in the upper left cave (next image) adding off camera Flash for back light as I did with Photographer Henry Garciga, who posed in the cave on the right side.
Unlike digital camera's of today, I was not to get the instant gratification I get nowerdays. I had to wait for the film to be processed before knowing if my experiment in creative photography was a success. When the shot came back exactly as I'd imagined, I KNEW I WAS ON TO SOMETHING!
There is a wonderful feeling that comes with painting with light. Try it, you'll like it!
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