Dana Maltby, better known as TCB (Twin Cities Brightest) is a Jedi Master in the art of Light Painting photography, or Light Art Performance Photography (L.A.P.P.) if you will. This light painting photographer from the Minneapolis, Minnesota can be found in the tunnels running under the twin cities on a nightly basis. Using a handheld light source as a brush and the open shutter of a camera as a canvas he creates the most amazing light paitings. All the photography you see here is as real as it can get and none of pictures were harmed with photoshop.
Besides being a Jedi Master in light painting photography, TCB is also a source of inspiration for the light painting community, sharing tutorials for all kinds of light painting on his website and Flickr account. So I would say, please strap on your seatbelt and be ready for a great adventure in phtography! We present you with light art performance photographer TCB:
Hi, I’m Dana, and I just recently figured out that I am addicted to light painting! But before all of that, here is a little background.
I live in St. Paul, Minnesota. It is smack dab in the middle of America, and it’s a pretty chill place to live. The mighty Mississippi river runs right through the twin cities, St. Paul and Minneapolis, and because of that there are many drains and bridges to explore. Minnesota and the twin cities were also a large grain producer up until recent years, but since then the old grain elevator buildings have become abandoned, and make for really great urban exploration missions.
Finding something new
Before I was addicted to light art, I skateboarded and snowboarded. It was always about finding the coolest place or spot to skate at. Finding new locations was the best feeling in the world, and doing an awesome trick there made it even better! I ended up hurting my shoulder, so I had to cool out on the boarding for a while. I picked up doing graffiti about 5 years ago at the ripe old age of twenty. Not really the best time to start committing felonies on a daily basis. I got really into graff for the last couple of years, and met a lot of cool people. The best part about painting graffiti for me was exploring by following the river, and finding cool abandoned and forgotten slabs of concrete scattered throughout the cities. I loved journeying into the unknown with a backpack full of beer and paint. Finding something new was just like skateboarding, it was the best feeling ever.
I ended up getting serious with school, and graffiti ended up causing a lot of drama in my life, so I stopped pursuing it. I had however become an urban explorer in the process, so I continued doing that to stay sane. One day in a pitch-black tunnel, I was taking pictures, and at this point I was just documenting the expedition, and I accidentally made some light paintings by doing long exposure photographs. The flashlights we were using to see looked like paintbrushes in space, and I soon realized that you could create a composition by considering the aperture size and shutter speed along with the location.
A week or so later I had been to every toy store in town searching for cool light up toys, and ended up spending about twenty bucks on different stuff. The results were so cool; I couldn’t stop thinking about it at that point. I would be skipping class to go into the tunnels since it’s always dark in them, even in the daytime. I came across the group Light Junkies on Flickr.com, and saw that some people were doing some amazing things with light. Tdub303 and PooleShooterCindi were a huge inspiration, and guided me into this unknown realm of painting with light. I met Lapp-pro.de on Flickr also, and his photographs took this form of art to the next level.
Light art performance photography (l.a.p.p.)
He described my work as being Light Art Performance Photography, which in essence, takes many aspects of light art and adds it all together to create a dynamic composition with a story while utilizing the location to the maximum. By this time I had made many light tools, hula-hoops, long poles, and wheels, all with lights attached to them. Each tool wielded it’s own special power, and created a different effect. My first breakthrough was when I made light spirographs using the wheel on the end of a paint roller extension pole in the depths of the tunnels. The images that were produced seemed almost too perfect to be made from such an elementary tool. It was just some five-dollar battery powered Christmas lights on a wheel off of a girl’s bike I bought for ten bucks; that’s two wheels!
The images evoked a magical feeling, and a somewhat sci-fi vibe also. It was at this point that I realized that Light Art Performance Photography, or LAPP, was what I was really interested in. From that point on I was still experimenting every time I went out to shoot, but I always took careful consideration as to the camera position, the location, the white balance, the composition, and the light that was prevalent in the shot.
So now I am about to graduate college, for graphic design, but my heart belongs to light painting. I am not worried though, because my heart knows best, and by chasing this dream and pushing myself into this unknown land, I am having the time of my life and I never want to stop.” – Dana Maltby