Visual artist Hannu Huhtamo creates unique light shapes to represent hope in darkness and chaos
Light is his brush or pencil; darkness is his canvas. The shapes and creations in the photographs of light painter Hannu Huhtamo may have an otherworldly appearance, but everything you see in his images is real. He uses long exposure times — a basic photographic technique. And by long we mean very long: often minutes and sometimes even hours. For Hannu, reliable external hard drives are essential to safely store his amazing projects.
Take a look at Hannu’s process in this video, then read on below to learn more about his work, his inspiration and his tools.
Practice makes perfect
Hannu lives in Finland and became passionate about visual art through a friend who showed him his images and projects. “I was really excited about his work. Twelve years ago, I bought my first DSLR camera and started doing my own experiments. I practiced almost every night,” says Hannu.
At the time, there weren’t many blogs or tutorials about light painting. He learned a lot from his friends and a community of like-minded souls on Flickr.
Of course, he did not just want to copy the work of others, so he worked and experimented to develop his own unique ideas. “The technique behind light painting goes back to the early days of photography, but I try to create a personal style. I use organic shapes that look like flowers or extra-terrestrial creatures,” says Hannu.
He gets his inspiration from books, films and real life. Recently, he designed a series based on deep sea animals that use bioluminescence to generate light in the darkest waters of the ocean.
Bringing light to darkness
Most projects start with a sketch. “I draw the lines and try to figure out how I can recreate the shapes with all kinds of lights and lamps. Then I go to my studio, where I practice each shape and put all the pieces together into a single frame. It can take several days or even a week to get all the details right.”
Finally, Hannu goes on location to take his pictures. He has his favorite spots in Helsinki and in the south of Finland. There is only one condition: it must be really dark.
“As I cannot see what I am doing, I have to remember all the movements and try to maintain a central position. Working with models can also be a challenge, because they have to hold the perfect pose for a few minutes. You need special techniques to make that work,” says Hannu.
Reliable, sturdy hard drives
After the photo shoot, Hannu returns to his studio, where he immediately transfers the images from the SD cards to his computer and several external hard drives to ensure a secure backup. On longer trips, he often takes his laptop and hard drives with him in a backpack. “I prefer lightweight hard drives that are sturdy and reliable. For this, I always put my trust in LaCie hard drives,” says Hannu.
Hannu also uses LaCie 1big Dock for his main storage. “This is really convenient for me because I keep all my old material on this extremely large hard drive. It is also easy to change the hard drive and use the same enclosure. And I like the fact that I can insert my SD cards, because you can transfer the images to the computer and backup the images at the same time.”
Although he has been fortunate never to have experienced data loss so far, LaCie’s Rescue Data Recovery Services give him peace of mind. “Losing my footage would be a nightmare. For me, it is important to know that LaCie drives come with this recovery service and a 95% success rate of getting content back.”
Hannu sells his prints to private customers and is also hired for commercial projects. You can book him for workshops and events with live light painting. Check out more of his amazing art on his website: http://www.hannuhuhtamo.com/.