Artist Anoop Upaasana from Wayanad uses just a torch and camera to create figures in the dark in 30 seconds.

Man stands holding two certificates wearing black and in a black background with a light painting art of Mahabali on the right
Features Art Saturday, July 18, 2020 - 15:03

About five to six years ago – the artist can’t remember the exact date – he created a drawing. He tried to draw smoke wafting from an incense stick. He used a mobile torch in the dark to get the orange of the flame right. That’s when he accidentally discovered the art of light painting.

It doesn’t have a physical existence, there is no paper or canvas. It is just the thin air in front of him, lighted by the torch, and the camera took a picture of. In other words, the drawing is in thin air.

“I didn’t know what it was called then. My friends who saw my work found out from the internet. But people mostly attempt only lines or similar figures. I went further and painted images. That’s how I got this recognition now,” says the artist Anoop Upaasana, who is from Wayanad.

Anoop’s work has won an award from the Universal Records Forum, recognising it for the ‘Most number of light painting photography’.

The certificate says: “Anoop Upasana, a talented photographer from Kerala, India, has found a new masterpiece with ‘Light Drawing’, the imaginary canvas of darkness, the thin light coming from the torch instead of the brush – captures that light in about 30 seconds.”

The figures he draws could be people – Mahatma Gandhi with his stick or Mahabali with his umbrella, a woman sitting idly or working with pots, men carrying a palanquin. It could be things – a cart, a helicopter. But because it is lines of light made in the dark, his pictures appear to be of the night. Like images made by stars on the night sky.

Anoop has been a commercial artist for years, a fashion photographer taking pictures of celebrities. Painting is also something he loved. When he discovered light painting, he practised with his camera and torch till he could finish small pictures in 30 seconds.

“I’d reduce the shutter speed and hold a torch in the opposite direction. I would face the camera and draw in the dark. To an outsider it may seem like I’m doing mime, moving my fingers around in the dark. But the figures I make are captured by the camera in long exposure.”

Watch: Kerala artist Anoop Upaasana who makes paintings with light

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