Michael Bosanko is a Welsh art photographer who uses light to ‘paint’ the air and create images. He discovered the technique by accident when he was in Greece taking a long exposure night image. He happened to kick the tripod, which caused a streak across the shot made by the moon. His little grey cells started to work, leading him to remove the camera from the tripod, point it at the moon and move it in a motion that would write his partners name; kind of like we all do with sparklers on bonfire night.

Once he got home from Greece, he started work on recreating the effect by using torches in place of the moonlight and he’s been doing so ever since.

What I see from Michael Bosanko’s work are images drawn using torches to put fun subjects in locations using the different colourful light that’s emitted; a skeleton peeing on a marker post in the Brecon Beacons, for example.

Michael Bosanko Skeleton Peeing
The techniques used in his work are known by a few slightly different names: “light painting”, “light graffiti” or “light sculpting”. 

The names describe the process well as it is all about painting the air with torches whilst your camera is set to a slow shutter speed to create a final image of neon light-looking subjects in the frame.

A long exposure is key whereas any light source can be used to create the image. Bosanko develops his own lights and torches but anything from camera phone lights, cheap torches and glow sticks can be used. He recommends saving the coloured transparent sweet wrappers when starting out as they can be put over the lens of the light source to add more to your images, like a gel during a studio shoot.

The video below is a good introduction to how he goes about creating one of his works of art (It’s not the best footage as it looks like someone just held their phone in front of the TV and recorded it).

The long exposures can range from anywhere between ten seconds and an hour. One of my favourite images he’s done is the Pacman painting I’ve used as the header image of this post, which, as he states in the above video, had an exposure time of twenty minutes and took him two attempts before he was happy with it. 

There is no post editing done with Bosanko’s work as it all takes place in front of the lens and takes him as long as it takes to get right.

Michael Bosanko Photographer
Michael Bosanko art

I’m not sure there is a particular meaning to his work other than that he loves what he does by creating different types of art through the use of light, air and real backgrounds as his canvas. This would be the theme of his work as well. He does say that he tries to “convey a sense of a shape that clearly does not belong in that particular place or area”, though. (https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/artist-michael-bosanko-uses-coloured-2123803, 2013)

His website lists several different genres he ‘paints’ in, from abstract to fonts and logos to organic themes and iconic movies.

Michael Bosanko "The Matrix"
Michael Bosanko "Jaws"
Michael Bosanko abstract
Michael Bosanko

I think that the technique of light painting is an effective way for him to communicate what his theme is. I say this as his work has a very modern, or even futuristic feel to it as well as a comedic feel in some. The bright lights ‘painting’ the subjects and lighting up the surrounding area add to what he’s doing.

Michael Bosanko says his work is a reflection of his dedication, passion, love, life, sweat, tears, anger and laughter (https://ezramagazine.com/interview-michael-bosanko/, 2013). It’s also a continuous progression that he doesn’t consider himself to be the best at what he does, just that he loves what he does and considers himself to be very lucky to be able to do that kind of work.

Some have said that he’s a pioneer in the field of light painting, but he acknowledges that others have used light in similar ways quite some time before he got started with it.

Michael Bosanko Edvard Munch The Scream
Michael Bosanko Easy Rider
Michael Bosanko Banksy The Balloon Girl
Before I started this assignment to find out about an art photographer, I had no idea about light graffiti and how it was done or who were big names within the scene.

After having a look at a couple of different artists who do this kind of thing, I’m interested to carry out looking into the artform beyond this assignment. I really like Michael Bosanko’s work and think it’s incredible how accurate the images are considering he has no visible reference points to work from when he starts a different part of a ‘painting’ from the part he’s just done. It is indeed like painting with a blindfold on, as he mentions in the video in this post.

Other artists I’m intrigued to research are Patrick Rochon, who does similar work to Bosanko but his work consists more of patterns rather than drawings, and Gjon Mili, whose black and white motion capturing photography looks great and intrigues me.