Eric Paré saw a medium and turned it on its head: light painting. Paré’s portraiture is made truly original through the inventive use of light painting and bullet time. His still images have a truly unique look to them, making them a cut above much of the work seen today. “I try to reproduce studio-quality lighting… but by hand. That way, I don’t feel lost behind the camera. I’m physically present with the model, and that makes me feel more involved in the creation of the pictures. I literally have to draw a shape of light in a way to achieve nice lighting on the subject.” Despite being so hands-on in the creation of the image, he’s never in the final image himself. “In the end, I’m invisible as I never point the light towards me. Most of the time, I use a one second exposure. That’s the key for me to get a sharp picture. I use a flashlight in my right hand, and a wireless camera trigger in my left hand. The only source of light is the one in my hand- I never use a flash or other lights. I also try to avoid doing extensive Photoshop so I can keep the technique pure.” Well, almost. “Ok I lied, I’m just too lazy to spend too much time doing Photoshop.”
“Lazy” is an inaccurate term for Paré (and him showing his hand when it comes to his humility), since his process to create his imagery is far from easy, simple or straight forward. He’s forged a new style that is truly his own, and there was nothing lazy about that.
“I shoot mostly with contemporary dancers and circus artists. They are the best as I ask them to stay perfectly still for one second, and most of them are very strong, stable and able to focus for a long period of time. But above their physical and mental qualities, they are simply the kind of people I like to be with. I learn a lot from them, and we have had so many profound moments in my pitch black studio.”
Paré picked up a camera quickly, but wasn’t feeling satisfied with the process so many of us use daily. “I used to be a photographer a couple of years ago, and I learned the basics quite fast, but something was missing. I didn’t have a feeling I was doing something valuable from an artistic and global point of view. So I stopped for a while until got access to my bullet time array.” That’s right, Paré’s tool he uses for creating his images is a large, bullet time rig set up in a complete circle. It’s pretty amazing seeing his final images move.
“The thing with a 360 degree setup is that it’s hard to hide the cameras. I got a few good pictures by using strobes on the floor and on the ceiling (dead angles), but there was a clear advantage at using light-painting techniques, as this allows to use a very concentrated light, thus hiding the surrounding cameras. That was for me the beginning of my fantastic adventure. It took a couple of experiments to figure out that the one-second exposure would really be the trick for me. I had also in mind doing-stop motion in this setup, so everything just fell into place perfectly, and lead me to the creation of LightSpin Documentary Film.”
Paré is just a creator in love with his craft. “I do my stuff with an artistic approach, but when art sells, then it sometimes becomes work. Well… it’s maybe not that clear cut, but what I’m sure of is that when I’m shooting in the dark, my life feels perfect and I don’t consider it work. On my list of goals, one of the item is to make a full music video using light-painting, stop-motion and bullet-time techniques. I asked Lindsey Stirling a couple of times, but did not got any answers yet. Other than that, simply sharing my knowledge, traveling and meeting incredible people through this art is what makes me happy.”
Eric is inspired by the people he works with, and an environment that lets him test his creativity. “I am inspired by being with creative people, mostly the dancers I worked with. Also, having a clear mind. It helps a lot!”
Eric’s Favorite Gear
Canon 5D Mark III
PocketWizared Plus III
300 Lumens Tactical Flashlight (modified with gels, flags, etc)
Eric’s Advice to Emerging Photographers
“Once you find your way – something that you enjoy more than anything – stick to it and practice like crazy. Oh and always write your goals! It works so well.
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