Elaborate Light Sculptures Made From A Simple Camera Trick

Michael Jantzen turns Christmas lights into stunning light columns

We've all seen thousands of images of light trails, a favorite camera trick among concert and party photographers the world over. But you've never seen them used like this. St. Louis-based artist Michael Jantzen took this simple camera trick to ridiculously elaborate extremes and created gorgeous light columns out of the light trails. Using a simple Nikon Coolpix point-and-shoot, Michael snapped photos of Christmas lights near a lake in Valencia, California—swinging the camera around in loops to capture the resulting light patterns.

But the real magic happened later on PhotoShop. By cutting and pasting the streaks into intricate patterns, Michael created extremely symmetrical and visually striking tapestries of light that look almost painterly in their prettiness.

Michael explained that he wanted to think of light the same way as he does about architecture: assembling smaller parts into a larger, cohesive configuration. “I’ve always wanted to live in a structure made of pure light,” he said, “so I created this project in an attempt to get closer to that dream.” Well, wouldn’t that be nice.

Photos courtesy of Michael Jantzen