Photography As ART

“Photography As ART” script shows how James creates his art using only light, camera, and optics, in addition to considerable logistical planning, technical experimentation, patience and dedication.

Photography as Art

Photography as ART – Aurora wEos series – Scene 1

April 30 2017 - Photography As ART



The sun framed bright white radiating ball. Slowly zoom out to encompass the living city of Miami. MUSIC – fade in crescendo from Scene 1 – Das Rheingold by Wagner and fade it out. CUT to James as interviewed.


Light brings life to everything, including photography. The two-part Greek root meaning of the word “photo-” and “- graphia” translates to “painting with light.”

Footage of the light wand in action, mixed in with very fast, almost subliminal clips from my “fiber light one/two” series and CU’s from the Aurora series.

Recording with photography is easy enough, especially in the new digital age, and with skillful talent photographs can be made artistically. They can be viewed as artistic photography, but can’t be defined as Fine Art Photography.

Show selections from my artistic stock work to include the Peaceful Charge Morocco Tan-Tan, Horses in Iceland, Electric Miami Skyline, Tango, and so forth as needed.

A painter, with brushes and palette in hand, begins creatively expressing on a blank canvas; a sculptor, using hammer and chisel, will begin to shape rough stone. Likewise, my philosophy is that in order for a photographer to create and call it “photography as art, the artist in essence must create on a single blank piece of film or file until the shutter is pressed, by a controlling the exposure to light of every element included in the photograph.

Use video of a female artist (possibly Ava), brush in hand, painting, and a sculptor (possibly Gerry Owen), or if there are other NOTABLE options. Use usual array of angles, CU, MS etc.

CUT to a piece of film. Quick DISSOLVE to a camera sensor. Quick DISSOLVE to pressing the shutter. CUT to one of my photo art pieces (need help deciding what to use).

Interior Studio is in total darkness and SILENCE. Slowly bring up stark lighting on JAMES as interviewed.


The blank film of yesterday, that in today’s digital age is called a File, provides the black canvas on which the making fine art begins by photographic means. It is made possible by the black canvas’s sensitivity to light and its effective use.

Pop off, sequence quickly different light sources: warm, cool, colored, broad, spot, wide angle, spot, dolly zoom. Show a top of the line camera and hear the fast pace of multiple exposures.


From this starting point photographic art can be created by the manipulation of light, the control through optics, the versatility of the camera, and intricate staging.

After which show a quick succession of frames showing the building of staged results. It can be James by himself on modeling stool, and build up lighting equipment with other staging surrounding him frame by frame.
CUT to James as interviewed.


I’d like to show you samples of photography as art by each and all of these creative techniques, but let me begin with a literal example of “painting with light,” which can only begin with total darkness.

FADE TO: Total darkness
The Studio is completely darkened. A DRUMROLL quickly increases in intensity. Suddenly with the striking of CYMBALS the full framed Aurora Inversion (PHOTO) is switched on, followed by quick visual cuts around the piece. [Like all art edited in from SCANS. This one may be an exception as I have a 6ft backlite print I can stand next to.]


You are looking at a work of photographic art called “Aurora Inversion” from the series Aurora wEos. This Series represents the most literal visual representation of the Greek roots forming the word “photography.”
I had a pre-visualized idea in mind of what I wanted to create.

A couple of quick CUTS of experimental failures to represent the previsualization. CUT an Edmund Scientific page showing the fiber optic light guides. Quick DISOLVE to page with focusing lenses. CUT to them together attached.


It had been formulating in my head for many years. I figured if I connected to one of my studio lights a fiber optic cable, and attached at the other end a focusing lens attached at the other end, I should be able to paint with light.


Image 1 showing the camera on fixed in position to beams on the Studio ceiling. CUT to James as interviewed.


This painting would have to be done in total darkness, but before turning the lights off, the set for creating the Aurora’s had to be prepared. I began by attaching a camera mounting arm to a ceiling beam so my camera would over the center of the Studio shooting floor.

Show B-Roll footage of some of that being done, including attaching the cable release.


I constructed a box that is centered under the camera. To provide a comfortable backdrop for my Aurora muse it is filled with packing material. I placed a TV controller temporarily at the center of the box to use as a focus setting point.

CUT to Re-staging some of this, otherwise believe I have more still shots of this box being put together.

Image 2 shows a constructed box with a controller in the center.

Image 3 shows the paintbrush wand to allow the painting with light.


The essential part to making painting with light possible was making the making the photo paintbrush.

CUT to James as interviewed.

Following my pre-visualization when fiber optics was first introduced, and novelty fiber lamps were the craze, I ordered a fiber optic cable and focusing spot lens from a scientific supplier [I can mention Edmund Scientific actually if they are willing to sponsor this Series Segment].

CUT to James attaching the cable with lens to the light he used, then attaching the end with the focusing lens to a plunger handle.

Then figured out a way, using plumbing supplies, to attach it the front lens of one of my strobes. I would use its 250W modeling lamp as the source light… even (humorous tone) used the wood extension from a plunger to stiffen the flexible fiber cable. I taped the two together as you can see, and in this could maintain control over my painting technique.

James continues to show black aluminum loosely wrapping the light. CUT to a shot of the EXIT sign covered with black material.

…Also notice the black aluminum foil surrounding the strobe. This mostly eliminated any superfluous light from the sides, without chocking the strobe to overheat. Keep in mind, the success of this creative process required total control of light in complete darkness.


I now asked my Muse, Karen, to lie in the box. She is taking one of over a half dozen positioned I photographed for this series.

Image 4 shows the Aurora Muse (model) in the box.

Image 5 shows the color gels used as the colors to paint with…


On the light table you can see the sample of colors I laid out to use… most often using only four colors for each set up; an amber, red, green, and blue.

CUT to James as interviewed.

This project, like many I do, required experimentation to determine the best techniques, settings and exposures. For instance, various colors transmit light at different speeds, so I had to determine the exposure times.

CUT to B-Roll footage of James showing the process.

With the shutter open, I would count out the required time of usage. For amber, transmitting quickly, painting from a 1001 to 1050 count would do… and avoid washing out the results. Green, on the other hand, transmits slowly and required a much longer count to register. Other colors fall in between for transmission times to paint successfully.


This is an un-cropped example showing a painted Aurora. I painted each one (I made) in two ways, either with crisscross or circular strokes. As I painted different positions, the resulting outcomes were always uniquely different. Along the way, little secrets that embellished the technique, were revealed, but they’re secrets! To complete making this one took about a 30-minute exposure.

Image 6 shows the results of the process. CUT to James as interviewed.

Image 7 shows the set-up for the Vitruvian Angel Aurora. Continue with James as interviewed.


The most complicated Aurora, using my photographic technique, required a 45-minute exposure to create. It is called the “Vitruvian Angel”; my take on Leonardo de Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man,” which illustrates the symmetrical harmony of proportions, the connections between art and science, man and nature, and for me women and nature.

CUT to the best Vitruvian scans that illustrate the two positions for the arms and legs.

The added challenge making this one is that the arms and legs had to be successfully exposed in two positions…

I made arm and leg cut-outs to prevent those areas from being exposed during my light painting of the muse’s extremities in her initial pose. After this I moved the arms and legs to those positions and removed the cut-out materials.

A set-up photo suggests that the cut-out material I used was black, following the principle that black equals what can’t be exposed. I first tried the black arm and leg cut- outs…

Image 8 shows the arm and leg cut-outs in black and grey. Try to locate or otherwise consider re-making the cut-outs tried.

CUT to James as interviewed.


…but in my tests, this did not work out the best. I was unable eliminate 100% ambient light, and that little bit of exposure would show the black cut-outs in the final photograph. I tried a deep tan, but found a grey did the trick.

Image 9 shows a final version of the Vitruvian Angel Aurora.


In the end I created several versions of the Vitruvian Angel.

CUT to more Aurora photographs and then use quick DISSOLVES.


This is an abbreviated story of how the Aurora w/Eos photographs were created, based on the literal meaning of photography, and showing the medium as a collaboration between art and science. It is seldom experienced at this level, and after they hear about the process, people find the process fascinating.

And more images of photography relating to this series or like constructed works.


Exploring the outer limits of photography is an alluring aspect of my work, but then there are other motivating forces surrounding my creations, from my childhood, travels, books I’ve read, which lead to other compelling insights of “Photography as Art.”

CUT to a photo of me as a kid in Holland dressed as a cowboy. CUT to some travel photos (from Morocco and Colombia are good choices). CUT to a few book covers from the list at the end of the script.

It begins with a “pre-visualization” that for the Aurora series I have already described, but unlike a painter who can put a blank canvas on an easel and with palette & brush in hand can immediately come to realize an idea,

CUT to B-roll footage of James, by an easel, with a paint brush in his mouth, another in his hand brushing paint onto a nearly completed canvas painting. He drops the brushes, picks up a photo camera and turns to look at the video camera to finish speaking the sentence.

a photographic artist, on the other hand, with an idea, has to collect and have all the pieces of the process in place to execute it with light.

In the meantime, if gathering the pieces takes three weeks or in this case a dozen years, the creative photographic urges within me are similar to the convulsions of the “Alien,” in the movie by that name, thumping from within my chest and abdomen, eating at me, demanding to burst out, to birth my visual conceptions.

CUT ideally of footage from the movie “Alien” to show this footage, but the beast in the end quickly transforms to photo art pieces.

The process has nothing to do with outside influences, persuasions, objectives, fame or fortune. It is all to satisfy, put an end to the appetite, to tame that creative beast within, knowing its satisfaction, its lull, is only temporary…

CUT to some DISSOLVES of a few stock Aurora photos and transition to a CU to a selected Aurora w/Eos series photograph that visually best fits suits the spoken paragraph below. Slowly ZOOM OUT from the close to end up showing the entire piece.

I came to calling the pieces of this group the “Aurora wEos” series, as in part Auroras are colorful displays created in our atmosphere by the interaction of electrons with oxygen and nitrogen, and because in Roman mythology Aurora is the goddess that flies across the sky announcing the morning, and equivalent to Eos in Greek mythology where she is depicted as a beautiful woman, which you will always find in my artwork.

THE END of Scene One