Though photographic technology races forward at breakneck speeds, it’s rare to see innovation in how an image is viewed and perceived. Tennessee-based photographer and entrepreneur Jeremy Cowart has introduced capture and presentation techniques that result in an image he calls a Lightograph. Cowart describes the Lightograph as, “the evolution of light through a still photograph.” The result is a video file without motion except for the light, he says. The viewer sees the subject motionless, as in a still image, but with the lighting color, angles, and intensity changing and moving.
The idea came through “years and years of playing and experimenting in the studio with my lights,” Cowart says. “But something finally clicked this year with the whole NFT [non-fungible tokens] boom. I wanted to bring motion to my portraits, and I realized my process could do that very easily.” The final product is digital and yields an eye-catching new offering for websites and social media.
Watching a Lightograph as it evolves through a loop of shifting light, shadows, and color is a lesson in how light influences the meaning and impression of a photograph. “A Lightograph can really reveal many sides to a subject and make them look really young or old or make them look like a hero and a villain. I keep saying that for the first time, a portrait can tell more than one story,” Cowart says.
As for the techniques involved in producing Lightographs, Cowart isn’t free with his descriptions. He offers a video tutorial that provides a full breakdown of how to create a Lightograph and the gear required for $249.99 through his website.
Joan Sherwood is senior editor.