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Ethereal Light Paintings Illuminate Europe's Most Dramatic Natural Sites

Photographer Michael Taylor creates spinning, balletic figures, surreally lit against the French Alps and Irish lakes.
Images courtesy of the artist. 

Four seasons, three years, and two countries were what it took to make these stunning light paintings. Called LightPath, they are part of photographer Michael Taylor's long-running Lumen project, which takes light itself as the subject. "My aim is to let light reveal itself," says Taylor.

Taylor shot the photos in both Ireland and France, around the Irish lakes and Atlantic, along with the French Alps—utilizing the roads and dramatic backdrops. Added to these are the photographer's ethereal light art figures, appearing like stationary ghosts of electricity caught in motion, sometimes mid-spin, other times leaving trails behind them like a human wall of light. "Movements of the human body through the landscape leave residual traces of light," notes Taylor. "Light thus becomes a memory of action."


To shoot them, Taylor dressed his models in custom light costumes which consisted of black lycra with hoops. Taylor's team then used the hoops to thread ribbon LEDs through. "These had to be repeated on location for two hours per shoot," Taylor explains to Creators. "Patience was required for this process and for re-soldering any breakages in circuits. Research and testing were also quite lengthy. Long exposures were at twilight using a tripod."

A second set of images featuring folds, ripples, and dancing strips of colored light, was also shot. These sometimes involve models, or fizzle on their own as though Doctor Strange has just teleported into the Dark Dimension or something equally otherworldly and psychedelic has been encountered and fleetingly captured.

"[This set] involved painting light behind the model using custom light brushes on torches and also using programmable Pixel Stick," notes Taylor.

The results, as you can see, are balletic and surreal. "[I enjoy] seeing the energy of light emerge from darkness," Taylor notes about the Lumen series. "Although there is planning there are always pleasant surprises, unpredicted moments of grace."

You can see more of Michael Taylor's work at his website here.


Model: Rebecca M
Costume design: Heather Long
Assistants: Yan Taylor, Jeremie McRoberts, Ian McRoberts
Light painting: Yan Taylor
Logistics: Ian McRoberts


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