Light is beautiful yet ephemeral. And photography, at its core, is about light; the practice takes its name from the Greek words phos meaning “light,” and graphê, meaning “drawing.” Brazilian photographer Vitor Schietti has fully embraced the nature of light in his work. In 2015, he began a series entitled Impermanent Sculptures that incorporates a technique known as light painting to surround trees and other natural objects with fiery streaks of illumination. These glowing landscapes evoke the magic of fairy trails, but they are the result of a delicate photographic process.
To create his light paintings, Schietti must perfectly time his exposures. After choosing a location, the photographer uses fireworks to produce streaks of light that are captured with a slow shutter speed. Sometimes a single shot is all he needs to cover a tree in energetic illumination. However, he also composites images together using Photoshop for maximum effect. According to Schietti, capturing an image is a precise dance of timing. “I use a neutral density filter to find the perfect balance between the brightness of the sparkles and the natural light by twilight, so it's a fine and limited balance, only a few minutes each day.”
Schietti finds his inspiration among the tree-lined streets of his hometown of Brasília as well as in more remote landscapes. The natural background is a perfect canvas for the photographer's abstract creations. “The light becomes a brush, the space around me is the canvas,” he says of Impermanent Sculptures, “the paper on which I write questions, sketch answers, rehearse thoughts, reveal or hide mysteries.”
Schietti tells My Modern Met that for him, both his city and his pictures represent “integration with nature, rather than exploitation and distance from it.” He connects this work to his experience as a vegan activist. “I see this work as part of my journey towards bringing the attention of people to our relationship with life, not only our individual lives but to life itself, as an entity. As such, we need to start recognizing the other kinds of life we share the planet with…”
Scroll down to see more of Vitor Schietti's beautiful Impermanent Sculptures series. For more of his photographic works, check out his website.
Brazilian photographer Vitor Schietti uses fireworks to paint with light in his stunning series Impermanent Sculptures.