Capturing the movement of musicians through light painting

One Waterloo artist uses LEDs and long-exposure photography to reveal the hidden patterns of musicians. 

Stephen Orlando has come up with an innovative way to capture music in photos. By attaching LED lights to the bows of violin, viola and cello players, the Waterloo-based photographer is able to snap a visual representation of the sounds being created with the help of a long-exposure camera.


Orlando can track these movements through space, following the arms and bows with vibrantly lit bands. We would assume that, like his other projects from the Motion Exposure series, he uses an Arduino Mega (ATmega2560) to program the set of LEDs to change colors, as a way to convey a sense of time.


“The progression of time is from left to right in the viola and violin photos and from top to bottom in the cello photos. Each photo is a single exposure and the light trails have not been manipulated in post processing.”

Orlando reveals to Colossal that he drew inspiration from light painter Gjon Mili, who experimented with violin paintings back in 1952.


This isn’t the first time that he has employed the help of LEDs and long exposure photography to tell the story of movement either. If you recall, Orlando has captured the “invisible” patterns of outdoor activities, such as kayaking, paddle boarding and skiing. You can see all those incredible images here.

[h/t Colossal]

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