The making of Signs of Light, with Eric Paré

The experimental visual artist takes Affinity Photo with him as he dodges crocodiles on a creative adventure.

Eric Paré is a Canadian visual artist who has been experimenting with light-painting since 2013. He has hosted workshops and spoken at conferences all over the world and his work has appeared on CNN, MTV, and many other channels and websites.

Eric Paré used Affinity Photo to create this striking light painting

“I play with light, space and time through light-painting, bullet-time and stop-motion techniques to create a unique, animated photography signature. Everything is lit by hand, one frame at a time.”

Eric Paré

When not exploring beautiful shooting locations, Eric can be found in his studio in Montreal where he and his team have developed their own full 360-degree camera system for shooting light-painting, stop motion, bullet time and other photographic techniques.

Eric’s past projects have been in collaboration with prestigious clients including Twitter, Bacardi, Dom Perignon, Tommy Hilfiger, Chevrolet and others. His latest, Signs of Light, sees him partnered with Affinity Photo in a continuation of his dance project Little Circle that was featured at TEDxMontréal.

Video preview: Signs of Light

“Most of my pictures are lit in one second, usually with no intentional external sources of light—which is how I manage to get sharp pictures despite using light-painting techniques that usually demand longer exposure times.”

Eric Paré

A light painting from Signs of Light by Eric Paré

Stunning locations

Filming for Little Circle, Eric and dancer Kim Henry travelled through Canada, the USA, Mexico, and as far away as Australia. In continuing with Signs of Light for Affinity, Eric headed to the Middle East, leaving the towers of Dubai for the open desert. You’ll see from Signs of Light that Eric has a love for places that inspire a sense of infinity, eternity—and after years shooting in studios experimenting with many different techniques, Eric combined his light painting with some of the world’s most beautiful locations.

“It doesn’t always go to plan. When we arrived to shoot it was so cold and windy we couldn’t shoot on the beach as we hoped, so we explored the area and found a sheltered pond half an hour’s walk from the hotel. After a couple of nights shooting we wanted to try somewhere else and checked out a local map—which said our pond was crocodile-infested!”

Eric Paré on the perils of shooting in Holbox, Mexico

Despite the danger, the pair went back for a third night’s shooting - a much scarier experience knowing the danger. “We were jumping at every noise!” says Eric. “We were later told there are usually a lot of crocodiles there as the map said, although they tend not to attack people (except maybe those who stand around for two nights taking photos). It all worked out great though, we took some fantastic pictures and also achieved the ocean shots we wanted the next day when the temperatures climbed and the winds died down.”

Crocodiles are just one hazard of Eric's way of working

Thinking differently

“There’s always a learning curve when experimenting with new software, but working on Signs of Light with Affinity Photo was special because it helped me refresh, to think differently.

“I started photo editing with Aldus Photostyler in the early 90s when layers weren’t in common use, I have lots of experience with different apps. What really struck me about using Affinity Photo is the fact that it made me better at editing. It made me break my routine and allowed me to think in new ways.

“I continue to be inspired by amazing work and locations on 500px, using Pinterest to keep track of places I want to go, things I want to try, and people I want to work with. I’ve enjoyed working with the team at Affinity, thank you for helping make Signs of Light a reality.”

Eric Paré creates striking light paintings in some of the world's most beautiful locations

Eric says the best moment to shoot is “in the blue hour, which in reality only lasts about 15 minutes. So after a long journey and a trek carrying backpacks we really have to be prepared for it. It’s the moment when it’s dark enough to see the light-painting, but with enough natural light to capture the gorgeous background, it’s just what we’re after. We either shoot straight to the sunset (when it goes below the horizon) thus getting nice warm colours, or directly away from the sunset, which creates the deep blue colours you can see on some of my pictures.”

To find out more about Signs of Light, go to Eric's website.

Eric's favourite time to shoot is in the 'blue hour'