In 1979 I “captured” jissereau (freeform) laser imagery during the live concerts of Dr. Bruce ‘Dr. Bjond’ Lipton’s Laser Group. My tools of choice were a Canon F1 with a 100mm Macro lens and Kodachrome or Fujichrome film, a big Bogen tripod completed my simple setup. I’d met Bruce, a brilliant research biologist at the University of Wisconsin, in what some might call ‘co-incidentally’, (and if so what is ‘the incident’?), the parking lot of K-Mart. As our friendship developed we had numerous conversations about his concept for Laser Group. To me these images are similar to that of Dr. Edgerton in that they captured the end result of an action in time and space.
One of the first laser projection entertainment companies in the world laserist Robert ‘Bobby’ Mueller ‘played’ the laser. These twenty by forty foot improvised, abstract patterns used argon-krypton gas and Bobby’s keyboard skills to create dynamic light sculptures. Acquiring both the vibrancy of the colors and the discreteness of the patterns with an analog camera and fine grain film was a challenge in itself. With elements of the imagery, e.g. hues, speed and intensity, changing at a rate of somewhere around one ten thousandth of a second knowledge of film stock specifications, aperture and shutter speed was critical in addressing some of these hurdles. Ultimately after all the scientific notes these time exposures were still subject to the inexact science of intuition.
Images from the over 100 that I captured are in the permanent collections of the Amon Carter Museum, (part of the estate of photographer, Carlotta Corpron ) and the Schomburg Collection of the Public Library of the City of New York. The light projections are the subject of a book, Lumiere Captureé , co-authored with artist/educator Donna Finch Adams, Ph.D.