10 Fragen an...

Pala Teth

Sein größter Antrieb ist der Spaß. In vielen seiner Light Paintings springt der Spaß, den er und seine Freunde während des Light Painting hatten, sofort auf den Betrachter über. Eine coole  Location, eine geile Idee, sauber gesteuertes Licht, die perfekte Wahl der Lichtfarben, gerne noch ein wenig ;-) Pyrotechnik - und fertig ist das Meisterwerk von Pala Teth. Für viele Light Painter auf der Welt ist er mittlerweile eine der größten Inspirationen. Viele haben seine Techniken, Ideen, Farben und Tools adaptiert.
Und so ganz nebenbei ist Pala Teth einer der angenehmsten Menschen, die ich bisher in meinem Leben kennenlernen durfte. 

1. Please introduce yourself shortly. Name, Age and where you from etc.

Hi, I’m Palateth, a Belgian light painter, from Liège (Lüttich) and I’m probably too old for this shit :-) (I’m 47) 

2. How and why did you start Light Painting?

In 2012, after 4 years of “traditional” digital photography (you know: birds, cats, flowers and other interesting subjects ...), I was lacking time for photography. Full time job, family, kids, there were lots of reasons to miss the perfect golden or blue hour, the sunshine, the sunrise or the myst. I was not able to be at the right place at the right time to shoot the picture I would have loved to shoot and it was very

frustrating. I was mostly available for photography at night, so I’ve started to shoot long exposure photography.


Till then, I’ve always thought about photography as a way to capture the reality, the documentary photography. Photography was a technical activity: framing, choosing the right settings, and trying to get the most interesting “natural” light to have a good picture.

And then I’ve suddenly realised I did not have to shoot the reality: I could create the reality I wanted to shoot! If I was not able to be at the right place when the natural light is perfect, then I could use artificial light. So I’ve started to read and learn about “strobism”, the off-camera flash techniques. And it has opened a whole new world for me, because if I was able to use artificial light, I could also create the story, the

subject, I could create everything and no longer be dependent of the reality and the time of the day!


Right after that, I’ve met a light painting picture on Flickr on a long exposure group (from Nocturnal Kansas). It was the rabbit who drove me through the hole into the light painting wonderland: the Flickr group “Light Junkies”. Holy broccoli! That was incredible: what these people were doing was fascinating! And with everything done in front of a camera, without photoshop, they were creating magic! I wanted to try!

But back then in 2012, no one was doing that type of things in my area. Fortunately, I’ve found the website lightpaintingphotography.com, from Jason D. Page, with the tutorials, the articles and other information, so -thanks to the people who have shared their knowledge- I was able to understand how to start and to do tests. That was the beginning of a strong addiction. :-)

3. What means Light Painting for you? What is yor motivation? What drives you?

For me, light painting is a fun, creative, accessible and very rewarding activity.

I like the idea of creating magic with pieces of cardboard, a light source, black tape and other ghetto-style DIY rickety tools. It’s all about  magination. There is nothing, it’s dark and everything has to be created.


I like the fact that everybody could start doing LP, right now, without having to spend thousands of whatever-money to get the mandatory big starter kit. It’s about creativity, and how wealthy or poor you are will not change anything. And I think it’s immediately rewarding: everybody like his/her first LP picture. There is nothing like 10 years of “wax on - wax off” training before being able to shoot a LP picture. The magic is immediately there, and the “wow” effect when people see a LP picture at the back of the camera is priceless.


Finally, it’s fun for me because I like it, and it’s also a social activity for me. I’ve almost always practiced LP with others. At the beginning, it was with a couple of friends who have asked to join me and it was a fun way to spend an evening together. And then their friends have joined too and it has become a weekly LP party. And then unknown people from Facebook or Flickr have asked to join too and it was and it’s still fun to practice LP with a bunch of people. It’s about sharing, having fun and trying stupid -but fun- ideas.

4. What gear do you always carry with you?

A camera, a tripod and a trigger are mandatory, of course, but my minimal package is a (bright) flashlight and pieces of colour filter gels. If I cannot do a backlight, I die a little bit, inside; so I always have what I need to be able to do a backlight. :-)

What wass your most memorable Lightpainting expirience, event or moment?

It’s hard to choose only one! I have tons of crazy memories with light painting, for sure.


So let’s take the last big one, which was the Lightpainters United meet-up here in Belgium: 35 light painting friends came for a week-end of light painting from various countries. This week-end was epic for me, for sure: I felt really honoured to have these highly skilled and creative people together here. There were lots of collaboration and lots of amazing pictures were created (have a look to the #lightpaintersunited hashtag on Instagram or Facebook, to have an idea). It’s like having 30 of your favourite music bands from worldwide coming for a week-end to do a jam session together in your backyard. That’s definitely a thrilling experience. :-)

5. Who or what inspires you?

Well, that’s not easy to answer. I do not have a single point of inspiration. Of course, I’m inspired by the light painting community and all these artists, there are so many techniques and people who get the best from anything which could be used for light painting, it’s amazing.

But I’m also inspire by the pop culture (movies, advertisings, books, tv series, ...) and by arts in general. I do not have an art background -or even an art culture-, but I like to watch the creativity of any type. 


Recently, I’ve watched videos on youtube from the Corning Museum of Glass, which is about artistic glass blowing and melting glass anipulations. I’ve seen very interesting patterns created by these glass artists and I’m slowly thinking about ways to translate these patterns in light painting. As soon as a subject “catches” my curiosity, my brain starts to digest these information in the background and sometimes an idea pops out from things I’ve watched months or years before.

6. What is going to be the next Light Painting Tool you build or buy?

I usually buy very few light painting tools because most of the tools available on the LP market are made to draw with light and I barely never draw with light.


I have a couple of ideas for new tools I might build someday, but I’m a master of procrastination, so these tools will probably be created by someone else before I even start working on it. :-)

7. What is your workflow? Do you work more spontaeous or do you plan out every little detail of you art?

I’m a lazy light painter. :-) I do with what I have where I am, and it’s mostly improvised on location. I’m very bad with planning every detail before. Of course, sometimes I’ve build a tool or I have an idea of something to try before being on location, but more than often the ideas I had before being there were not applicable because the place was not exactly how I’ve thought it would be.

8. Do you have certain concept, idea, philosophy or theme for your Light Paintings?

In general, I like the idea of creating magic with light and the philosophy of sharing the knowledge with others, definitely. So I like to spread my light painting enthusiasm to people, and to support the LP community, because I really think the collective is the optimal way to increase the creativity, to develop new techniques, etc.


I like the mental exercise to create everything in one single shot, with nothing added or remove in post production; so that’s my main principle for my light paintings.


Then, about my own pictures, I definitely love the explosions style. Surrounding a model with an explosion of lights/fire/fireworks/smoke/laser is always fun and attractive for me. At this point, I cannot not really call that a “philosophy”; it’s more a

topic to address with my psychotherapist. :-)

9. Do you have 3 Lightpainters you would like to / dream of, to have a colaboration with?

I’ve been more than blessed regarding this. Thanks to the meet-ups, congresses and exhibitions, I had the luck to meet lots of incredibly creative and talented light painters from everywhere in the world.


But I still have people on my list I would like to meet:

- Jason D. Page, because I would not have started LP without his website and all the efforts he has put in sharing information about LP.


- LED Eddie, because I’m a huge fan of his work (and his sense of humour too). He takes months to build a single picture, with very high precision and his pictures always unique, different.


- Dennis Calvert, because I’m also a big fan of his LP work. His pictures had a huge influence on the type of light painting I like to do: large scene, backlight, centered model, decayed locations, minimalistic effects.

10. What are your best or most favourite 3 pictures?

Well, my favourite pictures change with my mood, but my current favourite ones are:

Light Painting Fotografie & Light Art Photography
Pala Teth - I was cleaning it and it went off
Light Painting Fotografie & Light Art Photography
Pala Teth- Sixty feet under
Light Painting Fotografie & Light Art Photography
Pala Teth - Lost island

I love these for two reasons. First, each of these pictures was a great LP night with friends and lots of fun. I’m not a viewer of my own work; I cannot judge my pictures only about the result, the process of making these pictures is part of what I see in these pictures. And secondly, I like these because the result at the end of the exposure was a (good) surprise for me. I did not expect to get exactly these results and the result was better for me than what I was expecting, which is a thrilling feeling.

Mehr Bilder von Pala Teth findest Du hier:
flickr, Instagram, 500px


Tu es trop vieux? Que devrais-je dire? Je vais avoir 50 ans l'année prochaine.

Merci pour l'interview mon ami. J'espère que nous vous reverrons bientôt. Je vous souhaite beaucoup de plaisir et de bonne lumière dans vos aventures de Light Painting. 


Allzeit gutes Licht 


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