illuminated by a black light

black light with umbrella
black light with umbrella

I have been interested in low light and night time photography since I was floating in the womb, breathing amniotic fluid in and out of my lungs, a buddha soon to forget his true nature. It was so dark in there, but there was a light inside of me I wanted to share with the world. I was really pissed when the doctor pulled me out with his forceps into the tacky artificial light of the hospital, leaving indents in my temples that never popped back out (fortunately my wooly mammoth haircut covers all the imperfections of my skull). I wanted to go back in, but mom wouldn't have it. Ever since then I have been trying to recapture the beauty of that darkness, lit only from the light of some distant star filtering through the translucence of skin and organs and closed baby eyelids.

black light body paint
black light body paint

My Nikon D300 is the first camera I have owned since I ditched film that really captures images in low light with any reliability. I had to wait until I was four decades out of the womb to begin to realize the digital dream. Technology is advancing far too slowly. I want to download parts of my consciousness onto a small hard drive and carry myself around in my pocket. I could run all my random distracting thoughts on a different set of hardware and use my brain for something more serious, like blogging about black light photography.

When I first got to New Orleans I was reading a lot of Craig's List postings so I could see what kind of weirdos were running around in the city. Fortunately there were lots of them, and I fit right in. I found an ad for a face painter who was looking for some web design help, and so I contacted her. She turned out to be Irina NOLA, a Russian-born artist/street performer, face-and-body painter. Although she found web help elsewhere, she recently found herself in need of a low light specialist (random thought: I think I will put that designation on my next business card) and called to ask if I would work for tofu. I of course accepted.

It was a beautiful and auspicious night in New Orleans, like every night in New Orleans, when I walked into Irina's studio to be greeted by the blue glowing and nearly-naked Brightonn, who you see pictured here. I think the first thing I said was "woaaahhh", which in retrospect was not very professional. (random thought: It may be because I thought I had teleported to Pandora)

I still don't know why they don't call black light "purple light". (random thought: the dude who named it was clearly afraid of his feminine side) It is close to ultraviolet light in its electromagnetic radiation, and violet is a fancy word for purple. The human eye can't see ultraviolet, but it can see purple light to some extent. It makes fluorescent body paint glow as you see here, which is really trippy when you take enough entheogens. It does not illuminate Caucasian skin at all, apparently, which is why Brightonn looks like she is painted black.

Brightonn and I are now friends, and besides being tall and gorgeous she is also a talented photographer and artist. (random thought: she has a boyfriend who thinks vegans are crazy). She is helping me design my first tattoo. Working for tofu always pays off in the end, so let that be a lesson to you, tofu haters.

eyes without a face, black light photography

eyes without a face, black light photography

from above, black light photograph

from above, black light photograph

black light photograph hand with third eye

black light photograph hand with third eye

black light photograph hands and torso

black light photograph hands and torso