Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ink is Light, Paper is Photography, Calligraphy Becomes Choreography

Our affinity of Arabic calligraphy recently led us to the work of Julien Breton (aka Kalaam), a French artist whose light calligraphy takes the look of modern Arabic calligraphy and sets it, through time lapse photography, in front of dramatic backdrops. And while not authentic Arabic calligraphy–Breton uses an original Latin-based alphabet in a semetic style–his technique both evokes the best of modern Arabic calligraphists, such as Hassan Massoudy, Western graffiti and digital arts. And the best part, Breton's images are made without digital special effects.

According to Breton, "The principle is simple: The camera, placed on a tripod, takes a photograph in a 'Big Break.' This means that photography can last from 30 seconds to several tens of minutes depending on the brightness of the place. The same principle used by photographers to photograph the streaks of headlights of cars. During this long pause, I build calligraphy using lamps of different shapes and color, using the setting as 'a backdrop.'"

Breton's light calligraphy requires not only calligraphy skills but also a full range of body language, choreography, and hi-tech exchanges with photographers and video artists. But through patience and skill, Breton and his collaborators can turn almost any backdrop into a canvas, from beautiful landscapes and historic monuments to the sides of buildings or the bare-skinned backs of models in pose. And since early 2009, Breton has worked with Digital Slaves to develop a new process for creating real-time virtual calligraphy.

Enjoy a few samples of Julien Breton's light calligraphy below. And if you're interested in learning more, check out an interview with him about light- and virtual-calligraphy at Ziggy Nixon's blog.

See more examples at Julien Breton's website. FB

1 comment:

Patricia said...

Breton's light calligraphy against any photographic backdrop is intricately beautiful. Brilliant light works!