Daniel's Christmas Tree

This is a picture of my friend Daniel several years ago. It was pitch black outside, so I mounted my Canon Elan IIe on a tripod. I set the exposure on Bulb and opened the shutter. Daniel took a sparkler (it was around the holidays) and drew the christmas tree in the air. When he was done, he posed with his arms upraised while I popped the flash by hand.

I was inspired to do this by a picture I once saw of Picasso. Using a similar technique, the photographer had Picasso draw a picture of a bull in the air with a glowing ember, then popped the flash, so you had both the floating bull and Picasso in the picture. What fascinates me about this is how a painting, a drawing, can exist for the eye only as it was captured over time on a piece of film. Sketching is the oldest art form, and photography is the newest, and in this type of photo they are both combined in a unique and wonderful way.

I used this image on my Christmas card in 2000.

©1996, Patrick H. Martin, V