Eric Pare lives in Montreal, Canada, where he makes a living from light painting, bullet time, and stop motion photography – he’s even made a documentary about them called LightSpin.
It’s a very new discipline, and Eric is one of its foremost practitioners – but he even says he relies “mostly on practice, instinct and luck to create my pictures”.
In that case, Eric must be exceptionally lucky to have his images turn out so stunningly beautiful!
Eric Pare: I’m from Quebec, the French part of Canada. I’m a travel and yoga addict, and I’ve been practicing light-painting photography for over a year now. My main project is a documentary I’ve made in Montreal with contemporary dancers, involving light-painting, stop-motion, and bullet-time techniques (see more here).
Fo: How would you define your style?
EP: I am a minimalist. I try to reveal the most out of something/someone by creating very simple light shapes. I rely mostly on practice, instinct and luck to create my pictures.
Fo: What are your influences?
EP: My influences are my surroundings ; everything is there, I don’t invent anything. I’m very sensitive at watching the shifts of lights on people’s skin. I constantly watch them getting lit by street lamps as they walk, or simply when they turn their head toward the sun. This is what I achieve to craft by hand, using one light in the darkness, my blank canvas.
Fo: Has your origin and the culture of your country influenced you? How?
EP: Playing with light and shadows is something most cultures experiment with. On a day to day basis, I am deeply bound to my French-Canadian culture, but for my light-painting work, I feel like there is no culture related origin, and it is just perfect like this. This art form is universal, as is the sun and the moon.
Fo: In your opinion, what qualities make a good photographer/designer?
EP: For me, the main goal to pursue is communicating a feeling. It could be written or spoken, but for photographers it would mostly be through our pictures. What we say or create needs to touch people’s hearts. So, for me, it’s not about creating a technically perfect picture, but to “speak” about or present it in a way that will inspire others without competition or comparison.
Fo: Why did you join the TEN project?
EP: The proposed collaboration with Mike was a perfect match, because I do very minimalist pictures, and this gives a lot of freedom for a CGI artist like Mike to expand my light trails.
Fo: Do you often work as part of a pair, as on this project?
EP: I have never worked with someone who had the ability to push my picture that much further. It opened a whole new world for me, as I have now a clearer idea of the possibilities for this kind of collaboration.
I’m used to leaving my pictures pretty intact, with no major alterations, but this has made me rethink, and I started to add external elements to my creations since the day I met Mike.
Fo: So the collaboration with Mike went well?
EP: At the beginning of the project, we had a very quick discussion about the overall concept, and never looked back. The project was precise and never at any moment did we try and influence each other when creating the final image.
Every single step of the project was simple and effective. Mike is a true professional artist, and I was blown away by his capacity to blend elements with such purity.
Fo: How did the “Future” theme inspire you?
EP: The “Future” theme instantly got me thinking about creating a unique character, something that we could not identify with, and who leaves the imagination open to any interpretation. Using metallic powder on the model’s skin and and creating a fantasy scene was totally the way to go!
The first goal was to play with the mix of hot and cold elements to create a fantasy image. The emotion we seek is the one of a powerful but fragile woman in a cold environment.
Fo: What are your preferred or required tools or equipment?
EP: I’ve used Canon full-frame cameras since the first version of the 5D came out. I use wide-angle lenses (16-35 mm, 15 mm) and PocketWizards to trigger the cameras remotely. For image post-processing and video editing, I use a small Wacom Bamboo with Adobe software – Photoshop, Lightroom, Premiere, and Audition.
Fo: Can you briefly describe your usual working methods?
EP: Everything is lit by hand – and the only source of light is in my hand. This is the deal I made with myself after experimenting with various types of studio light equipment (strobes, LED panels, etc…).
So, basically, I stand behind the model, with a flashlight in my right hand and a remote control in my left hand. I open the camera shutter using the remote control, I move to create the light shape, making sure the subject is well illuminated, then I close the shutter. The overall process takes only one second, but during that second, the subject has to stay totally still to avoid being blurred.
Fo: Have your tools and work method been different for TEN? If so, how?
EP: For the chosen concept, I knew I would have to work on the floor. I had already done some basic tests in the past, and knew it had potential. But doing this project for TEN, I wanted to go further. So, prior to the project, I spent three weeks experimenting to get a nice floor texture, good framing, and better light quality.
It was kind of a revelation for me, as I felt the quality of my pictures improved a lot during those test.
One thing became obvious: working on the floor makes the subject more stable, and that gives much sharper images. So, overall, it’s a huge step forward for me to have made this project for TEN.
Fo: Can you tell us a few of the tricks and techniques you used?
EP: I used many lights during the shooting for TEN, but the one that stood out and that we choose for the final image was the one I call Solar Wind, which I discovered a year ago with Ariane (my assistant on the TEN photoshoot).
To create the multi-color effect, I simply folded a colored metallic sheet on a flashlight, and the changing angles create the various colors.
Fo: Thanks, Eric – that’s brilliant!
You can keep up with Eric and his work via Twitter.