The address turned out to be at an industrial area. Bit of a weird location, actually. What could be there?
Well, in one of the factory buildings is the photo studio from Singaporean master of photography Charlie Lim.
He is a succesful photographer since many years and he has specialized himself for the last 8 years or so in what he calls ‘Oil-Painting Photography’. He refers to himself now as The Painter of Light.
So what was the occasion? My friend Sabine, who is a very talented photographer, had sort of been his private apprentice for a year. He taught her the art and secrets of light painting. Her study with him had finished and tonight was the night he was going to officially give her her certificate.
It had all been quite last minute, so she had to wrap up quickly a few friends to be there for her, while Charlie apparently invited a bunch of his old friends.
|Sabine, her german friend and Frits.|
Charlie’s studio turned out to be an amazing place.
How shall we describe it? As an antiqueshop? A museum? The house of a collectionneur? Or as that of a hoarder? (Just joking;-))
And how to call what is in it? Memorabilia? Knickknacks? Junk? Treasures? Props? Curiosa? Antiques?
You know, I think all of the above names are appropriate. It is all of that and more. Let’s sum it up by calling it: ‘A Beautiful Mess’. Totally up my alley! I love a place like this! It looks colorful, it’s different, unique and you can look for hours and discover new things all the time. Cool!
The exact idea for that evening was still a bit unclear to us all, but what was clear was that first we would all go out for dinner at a nearby food court.
|Charlie introducing his friends to Sabine and vice versa.|
|Charlie and his long-time assistant.|
Over dinner Charlie explained his idea for that evening. Many of his friends he knows since high school and most had never been in his studio or seen him at work. One of them was over from Australia. So it seemed like a good idea to combine the certification of Sabine with inviting his friends and all have a nice evening together.
His friends were nice and friendly, so it was relaxed and enjoyable.
After dinner we headed back to the studio for the official part. Here Sabine gets her certificate. I am very happy for her and proud of her.
Painter of light…. Oil-painting Photography….. What IS it actually? How does it work?
Well, Charlie’s inspiration for this are painters like Rembrandt, who were masters in using light (and dark) in their paintings. He wanted to create something similar with photography, since photography is all about light.
For years he developed his technique of painting with light. He prepares his model and his camera (on a tripod). When all is ready to go, he turns the lights of. The whole room is pitch black. The camera is ‘open’ for about 30 seconds, during which he shines with a torch on his subject. The way he does that resembles the strokes of a painter, without touching the canvas (the model).
To demonstrate to us how it is done, he made light-paintings of each and every one of us.
|First portrait was of Sabine with her certificate.|
|Then of one of his friends.|
|He made one of me alone and one of me with Frits.|
You can see clearly what a difference it makes how long you light which parts of the model. Frits looks from ok to good on both pictures. I don’t come out nice. But in the left picture I really look bad, on the right picture, my face is just overexposed, making me pale like a ghost.
It was a lot of fun and interesting too to see the master at work and to see the results. One of Charlie’s friends was so excited that he tried it out a number of times himself. He was quite good for an unexperienced painter of light!
While his friend was experimenting with the camera, Charlie entertained the rest of us in turns, by bringing us in the holiest of holies in his studio. The place where he keeps his most special treasures. The smallest book, the smallest carving, etc etc. All unique pieces that he collected over the years. It was fun, because not only is Charlie a famous photographer, he also is a colorful character. An entertainer, a storyteller, a martial arts specialist and undoubtedly a lot more.
Thank you, Sabine, for the invitation, and thanks, Charlie, for a wonderful evening!
Had you heard about this technique? What do you think? Do you like this style?