The Olympics of Light: the 2015 International Light Painting Awards

 

Until 1948, artistic categories such as sculpture, music, and painting were part of the Olympic Games. On this global stage, participants were given the opportunity to compete with some of the finest artists around the world for the gold medal. While the fine arts are no longer part of the games, the spirit of global competition lives on as artists participate in Internet-based contests that reach international audiences.

International Light Painting Award 2013- 1st place winner, Mark O’Neil

 

In 2013, Jan Leonardo decided it was time he created a global platform for another lesser known art form. In doing so he created a bi-annual competition that would invite talent from all over the world to paint with light.

The International Light Painting Awards celebrates an emerging art form growing in popularity worldwide. A light painting is created when artists open their camera shutter speed for an extended period of time and draw in front of it with various light sources like flash lights, LED lights, and fire, creating streaks and images of light. While the technique is easy, it takes incredible skill to create a masterpiece. Innovative light painters work with natural and arranged scenes and inventive light tools to create some brilliant effects. The final photo is often a breathtaking result taken in just a single shot, and without computer editing.

Jan leonard
“Light painting artists work with lighting, performance, choreography, and longtime exposures, but often the audience thinks it’s been manipulated on a computer. I wanted to create a larger stage for this art to bring it to a greater audience,” Leonardo says, explaining his motivation in starting the contest.

Whether a newcomer or world renowned light painter, anyone is welcome to submit two of his best pieces before August 1. As the entrants strive to create their finest, the curator of this competition has a few tips, “Seek and go new ways! Close your eyes and find a picture in your head, then take your time and work hard again and again for one or two results,” Leonardo suggests. “Maybe you will not win the award, but you will for sure create your best work.”

When Leonardo first started the contest in 2013, his panel of judges were captivated by the sheer creativity and technique demonstrated by the submissions. They were also impressed by the large amount of participation, with 1,050 light paintings from 74 different countries. With the success of the first contest and the bigger prizes, Leonardo expects up to 2,000 submissions for its second year.

Dana Maltby
“The light painting community has been growing and growing over the last few years,” explains Jason Page who is a light painter and one of the judges of this year’s competition. “I’m excited to see growth of the light painting art form in both the numbers of entries and the wildly innovative images we hope to receive.”

The panel of judges consists of 11 light painters, including Page, who will vote for the top 100 photographs. After the initial voting, a four-member grand jury will select the top six winners. The winners receive camera equipment to support their light painting endeavors. This year Photokina, the world’s leading photography fair, is sponsoring a special grand prize. The grand prize winner will receive his own exhibition space at the 2016 Photokina fair in Cologne, Germany with all travel expenses covered. This partnership with Photokina will continue as Leonardo plans to divert from the bi-annual schedule and host another Light Painting Awards at the 2016 fair, with a special awards ceremony to announce the winners.
Denis Smith
The competition is a way to bring the community of artists together and draw more attention to the art form. “The sponsors and level of prizes that Jan Leonardo has been able to attract are not only a testament to what an incredible and well respected artist he is, but I also think it’s a testament to how light painting is becoming more recognized by mainstream outlets,” says Page.

This year as the judges make their selections they will look for creativity, technique, photo quality, and storytelling. If you have think you have what it takes to create an incredible light painting, you can enter today. However, like the Olympics the competition means so much more than prizes. Just by participating you are joining a growing international community of passionate artists.
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