Project 2

Peter Travers recre­ates the fu­tur­is­tic-yet-retro neon look of the ’80s in this project us­ing torches and plas­tic tubes!

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Shoot an 1980s-in­spired im­age with some retro light paint­ing

Light paint­ing is a great way to get into long‑ex­po­sure pho­tog­ra­phy and of­fers up a world where we can con­trol light and shape it

to suit our needs. Most of the time we use a pow­er­ful torch in low light or at night to vis­ually paint a scene, with re­sults of­ten fan­tas­ti­cal. How­ever, in this project we’re go­ing to place gelled torches in plas­tic tubes cov­ered in translu­cent pa­per to cre­ate a light wand that fea­tures heav­ily in the cre­ation of our ’80s in­spired fi­nal pho­to­graph. The torch we’re us­ing also has a stro­bo­scopic ef­fect built-in so we’re us­ing this to our ad­van­tage to mimic a style rem­i­nis­cent of 1980s film posters. Think of films like Tron and The

Ter­mi­na­tor where the sleek, neon colours are both retro and con­tem­po­rary in ap­pear­ance.

With films like Su­per 8 and shows like Stranger Things hark­ing back to this style, this pe­riod hasn’t been as pop­u­lar since, well, the ’80s dude…

So, with our model kit­ted out like he’s from Mi­ami Vice, and a soft-top car, we’re go­ing to use the light wand to cre­ate th­ese ace ef­fects in-cam­era, and then pol­ish off the colours in Pho­to­shop later on for some more crazy vi­su­als.

To get this look­ing good will take a lot of prac­tice – it took nearly three hours longer than an­tic­i­pated to do this shoot be­cause once we got the tech­nique nailed (af­ter about an hour) it was too much fun to stop! So with that let’s jump in…

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