These portraits were all made during a commission for the First Light Festival in June 2019: a non-stop, free, 24-hr festival celebrating Lowestoft as the most easterly point of the UK for the earliest sunrise of the year.

Using a promenade beach hut as a temporary portrait studio, I light painted a range of people from all walks of life, any age, basically anyone who was curious about what I was doing there. These people simply paused on their way to see a band on the main stage, or drifted along the prom until something took their eye or were curious enough to find out what a light painting experience was all about.

During a 30-second exposure, each of my subjects would sit inside the darkened beach hut of roughly 2m x 2m. With camera on tripod, I would then “paint” the light around the faces and features of my subjects using a range of torches and light pens in a unique choreography of movement in response to the features and details of the face - throwing blue light here, red light there, emphasising this feature, holding back there - much as one might control and influence the light by dodging and burning light when creating a print in the black and white darkroom.

For the festival commission I simply wanted to bathe each subject in light, and offer light play as a kind of therapeutic “healing” experience where my subjects are literally celebrated with light in a single condensed frame that encapsulates those 30 seconds. I feel that this approach is a way of honouring the uniqueness of each person, and seems to create a genuinely intimate and shared experience For both photographer and subject, a very real and very honest transaction takes place.

Prints were offered for sale, and 50% of profits raised from print sales were gifted to the Access Community Trust in Lowestoft, for their work promoting social inclusion and building resilience through community. This series of portraits also includes some of the other artists I was fortunate enough to work alongside, as they presented their works in other beach huts nearby. The series below shows a range of light painted portraits made during that time.