Photo Essay

String Theory Continuum

Worm Hole from String Theory Continuum series

A physicist might simplify string theory for us by explaining it as the excitation of particles. In this series I use the meaning to consist of light particles and what can be done with them in cities after dark. Yes, neon!

The idea is to describe cities in a different manner, not using recognizable edifices but to express its energies or many pulses, like string theory. It has been interesting to discover that just as each city reveals architectural differences when one photographs traditionally, each city seemed at first to appear distinct when photographed using various techniques. However, as I moved forward with the series a similarity began to emerge because there are only so many ways one can bend light. Somehow this reminded me of a unity found within my first series on performers backstage, begun way back in 1980. Where I had sought differences by photographing in various countries, I actually found uniting themes in the world of theatre and, of course, neon light is similar no matter where it is found, despite country or context. The differences are found mainly in colors, over all design and typefaces and what can be done with these elements.

In October 2008, I began this series shooting from the 30th floor of my hotel in Beijing, China where I was a guest for a 30 year Retrospective Exhibition of my work! This is not computer manipulated imagery; Canon digital EOS's are used and all images are made in-camera. Techniques for creating the most optimum designs have evolved over time with my shooting up to five times per week. I'm studying future cities which may yield exciting colored neon lights, such as Mumbai, Rio or Las Vegas.

I push and bend light depending on its sources and original speed to create a new world of abstract nebulae, textured ribbons, geo-shapes, whirling colors interspersed with sporadic identifiable objects.

To enter this land of color sends a viewer into the very heart of what light is. This is one of my most essential series. After studying the way light falls on objects for thirty years, most especially the human form, it is both entrancing and liberating to experiment with light sources.

Cities Photographed: Beijing, China; Paris, France; Hyderabad and Trivandrum, India; Houston, TX; Oklahoma City, OK; Los Angeles, CA.

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35 responses

  • Ann Reece

    Ann Reece   said (9 Mar 2012):

    I was attracted to your site when I saw your string theory photos and then when you mentioned some being done in Houston, TX, that really got my attention!!! I love this type of photography for the originality, colors and shapes. I believe that this story deserves to be story of the week.

  • Ma. Dolores Guillén Solís

    Ma. Dolores Guillén Solís   gave props (9 Mar 2012):

    Good story, it was already nominated for being story of the week by Ann... Either way I voted for it!

  • Krishna Dronamraju

    Krishna Dronamraju said (9 Mar 2012):

    They are all beautiful. Michele is highly talented.

  • Abigail Bumanlag

    Abigail Bumanlag (Deleted) said (9 Mar 2012):

    Woah Michele! Labor love! I learned a lot. ;-)

  • Mary Ann Reilly

    Mary Ann Reilly said (9 Mar 2012):

    Fascinating and aesthetic. Love how you are thinking here.

  • Shirley Valencia

    Shirley Valencia said (9 Mar 2012):

    What a great essay. This truly deserves to be story of the week. Fantastic work and such dedication..... good luck Michele.....

  • Hilda Cox

    Hilda Cox gave props (9 Mar 2012):

    what a great job you did on this !!!!!!

  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain gave props (9 Mar 2012):

    OUTSTANDING!!!! youhav done a great

  • Massimo Bardelli

    Massimo Bardelli   said (10 Mar 2012):

    Awesome work & great idea well developed, brava Michele!!

  • Paperini Renato

    Paperini Renato said (10 Mar 2012):

    Beyond the meaning you give to your beautiful work, I'm very fascinated by the shapes and colors that arises from the set of strings of each image. Very different from traditional photography but causes attraction to the dynamics of strings that appear as evolutionary in perpetual motion. The use of digital photography removes any barrier to the evolution of the image by bringing the artist to levels in the endless search.

  • Harsh Wardhan

    Harsh Wardhan said (10 Mar 2012):

    wow!!!! very nice. pictures are so creative

  • Stefan Nielsen

    Stefan Nielsen said (10 Mar 2012):

    Great work :)

  • Ira Dick

    Ira Dick said (10 Mar 2012):

    Seeing this beautiful and coherent (inside light joke) makes me want to figure out how to do this with a small, p&s Nikon. They spur the viewer inquisitiveness and education about something new and very well accomplished.

    Now, I've got to call my nephew who's an engineer with a physics background to explain it all to me.

  • Roxana Brivent-Barnes

    Roxana Brivent-Barnes   said (10 Mar 2012):

    I love the series, I create those images with fractals in my pc, but I enjoy looking at your results with the camera, love your dedication too, voted!

  • Anuradha Mandapaka

    Anuradha Mandapaka said (12 Mar 2012):

    Really beautiful images! Best wishes for your show!

  • Randy Turoff

    Randy Turoff   gave props (16 Apr 2012):

    This series is absolutely fabulous. String patterns and overlays are beautiful

  • Davide Simone

    Davide Simone (Deleted) said (20 Apr 2012):

    your abstract is superb, I love the abstraction, sure my vote

  • Deborah Downes

    Deborah Downes   gave props (4 Jun 2012):

    FABULOUS. Light art at its best. For sure my vote.

  • Bailey Cooper

    Bailey Cooper   gave props (12 Jun 2012):

    You already know what I think about these images. Count me in.

  • Indra Widi

    Indra Widi gave props (12 Jun 2012):


  • Indra Widi

    Indra Widi gave props (12 Jun 2012):


  • Roxana Brivent-Barnes

    Roxana Brivent-Barnes   said (16 Jun 2012):

    I thought I've seen them before, and I still enjoy your shots. Thank you for supporting my work too, xxx

  • Al Stiegman

    Al Stiegman   gave props (27 Jun 2012):

    I love color abstractions and thes are some of the best I've seen. I did some years ago that are up on JPG but they pale in pomparison to these. Bravo!

  • Litz Go

    Litz Go gave props (27 Jun 2012):

    excellent photo essay!

  • Davide Simone

    Davide Simone (Deleted) said (12 Aug 2012):

    Michele, i love yours works !!!!!!!

  • Gabriela Velazquez

    Gabriela Velazquez   said (14 Aug 2012):

    Excellent!!! it's like painting with light!

  • Michele Wambaugh

    Michele Wambaugh   said (14 Aug 2012):

    U R right Gabriela, it IS painting with light.

  • Jean Pierre Vacherot

    Jean Pierre Vacherot (Deleted) gave props (16 Aug 2012):

    Great photo story

  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain gave props (20 Sep 2012):

    Fabulous shots and narration... congrats for publication..... Vote!!!

  • Angelo Narciso

    Angelo Narciso said (5 Oct 2012):

    What an amazing series/project! So beautiful!

  • JamesHarmon McQuilkin

    JamesHarmon McQuilkin   gave props (16 Oct 2012):

    excellent series

  • Lew Harford

    Lew Harford   gave props (5 Jul 2013):

    WOW. Thanks for the information on how you work. These are great!

  • Al Smith

    Al Smith gave props (11 Nov 2013):

    I love this series! Shots at 1/6 and do you pull this off and so well???

  • Lynn E. Harvey

    Lynn E. Harvey   gave props (2 Feb 2014):

    I love the overall context of 'Unity' in this Michele, your work is always inspiring and you are a brilliant artist!

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