Light drawing is the method of capturing the movement of a light source in a 3D space, that when photographed, shows the trails of light. This process was discovered by Pablo Picasso and Gjon Mili in 1949. Mili, a photographer for LIFE Magazine, found that “by leaving the shutters open [on his camera], he caught the light streaks [being made by Picasso with a small light] swirling through space (Cosgrove).” Through this experimentation, the two produced photographs depicting Picasso’s drawings composed of light in a true 3D space. The following year, the series of works was displayed in New York’s Museum of Modern Art, with Picasso draws a centaur in the air being the most revered and remembered. With the advent of modern, more powerful technology, artists have adopted and expanded upon these techniques to incorporate them into video, performance, and other various artistic displays.
Here are some examples of Picasso’s Light Drawings:
Gjon Mili, Picasso’s Light Drawings, Photography, 1949.