Digital photography has opened up a plethora of new forms of creative expression, such as you see here in the works of Shehab Hossain. But who better to explain his artistic process than the artist himself?
I bend and freeze time in my photos. What’s your superpower?
I am a Bangladeshi/Nigerian/American artist specializing in urban night photography and light painting.
My craft is making photos of my light painting strokes in urban environments. I use various camera exposure durations to paint objects and places with light. My strokes become a performance as I dance my orchestrated layers of light through a scene while drawing and painting objects to build my composition.
At times, I use existing light sources and trails to complement the scene. The shutter closes and freezes the movements and light strokes within a single long exposure.
My photos celebrate a unique look on old places. The plot of my night photos is mostly of places we are accustomed to seeing in daylight.
My favorite places are abandoned spaces.
The final prints on canvas, metal or glass bring out the vibrancy of ambient and light painting within these nocturnal scenes.
Blue • Honolulu, Hawaii
The banyan trees in a downtown park made for a perfect nest to spin a blue orb. I washed the trees and their roots using warm and cool flashlights then hand-spun the blue orb.
Caffeine • Seattle, Washington
The oversized cowboy hat is a remnant of an abandoned fast-food diner. The eyes were made by spinning two orbs using blue Christmas lights affixed to a rope. I then up-lit the brim of the hat with a warm flashlight and lastly completed the face with a yellow glowstick.
Dragon Egg • Cambridge, Massachusetts
This abstract environmental sculpture reminded me of a dragon’s cave. The city’s sodium vapor and LED lights brought out the mixed colors and textures of the sculpture. I handspun the orb and offset the center to hide the mythical creature’s precious egg.
Embrace • Half Moon Bay, California
The pandemic reminded us about isolation and the power of a simple hug. These two lonely mushrooms were drawn using a lit bicycle rim. The bees were light-stamped randomly using a flash covered by an illustration of a bumble bee.
Haathi • Valley of Fire, Nevada
Over many years, wind and rain have carved the sandstone to create Elephant Rock. Using warm and cool flashlights, I lightpainted the rockpiles to create the warmth of stone elephant against the galaxy passing by.
Marble Run • Lexington, Massachusetts
During the past New England winter, I saw a group of children playing marbles in a nearby park in Lexington. This inspired me to make a photo of their game. I used a lightpainting tool to create the orb and highlighted the curved marble run with a warm flashlight. The light-polluted cloudy skies complements the rolling orb.
Momiya • San Carlos, California
Mothers are the greatest unsung super-heroes. Using a forced perspective technique, I positioned and drew the “Star Wars” AT-AT Walker using a pixelstick and let the carlight trails fill in the foreground.
Night Creatures • Dhaka, Bangladesh
Still bodies of water are my favorite for making a night photo. The geometric of a concrete bridge framed the placement for an orange light orb. I handspun the orb while an onlooker watched my movements at the top of the stairs.
Taken • Lincoln, Massachusetts
Inspired by a Gary Larson comic, these abandoned rocking horses seem to freeze as soon as I rode my motorcycle by them. Using colored gels on flashlights, I lightpainted the horse from strategic angles to mimic an alien abduction. A coyote curiously watched me make this photo from nearby bushes. I’m curious what his take was on what was happening.
Gemini Maples • Lexington, Massachusetts
These twin sugar maples grew up on an old New England farm. They were estimated to be over 300 years old, but one had grown weak and was ready for the tree surgeon. I shot this lightpainting the night before it was cut down.
Architect by day, lightpainter by night, Shehab Hossain is a natural storyteller who creates unique fine art photo documents in narrative formats. His award-winning and published photographs have been featured in exhibitions coast to coast and are part of several private collections around the world. His company, Imaginoor Photography, specializes in architectural photography, night photography and environmental portraiture. A citizen of the world, Shehab Hossain currently lives and practices his craft in Boston.