About Gunnar Heilmann

Excerpt from an Interview with Daniel Eiba, from EYESO, Aug 27th, 2018

Light Painting Photography Long Exposure

Gunnar Heilmann ‘s (Light Painting Photography – Berlin), work deepens the possibilities of capturing light as a main subject in the world of digital photography. With a background in engineering and innovation, he transcripts this approach into rendering pictures in single shots with minimal treatment in post-production.

The long exposure photographs deploy light both as a tool and as a subject. This technique, called light painting, influences the viewer’s perception of the environment, often creating new sculptural forms, scales, and atmospheres and transferring them into landscapes and deep, whimsical portraits.

By using light as an instrument, Gunnar’s reinterpretation of motion in space is turning ephemeral choreographies into drawings and transforming imperceptible moments into visual stories. His methods appropriate tools such as fiber optics, fire and torches, juxtaposing natural and artificial elements by manipulating the aperture during the shot.

Gunnar is based in Berlin, Germany

Gunnar Heilmann Portrait

Gunnar Heilmann:

“I believe we can use Light Art Photography to engage with people, connect with each other beyond any other form of photography. Light Painting can tell stories and challenge a viewer. Let’s get lost in Art and wonder what else we CREATE do together.”

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Just a short wrap up how we got here.

After you read and saw how others describe who I am now you get it straight from me.

A few questions for Gunnar Heilmann

How would you describe your photography to someone who has never seen it?

The field is called “long-exposure photography” and I make use of different sources of light (torches, fire, fiber optic, etc.) to engineer the photographs. The shots take from seconds to minutes and often involve me purposefully and analogically lighting areas or creating shapes with light. I make very little use of digital post processing, so preparation and right settings are crucial.

What makes a great photograph?

A great photograph fires your curiosity and ignites your imagination. Makes one talk and write about it, incites your interest into its process and elicits emotions. It tells a story without words.

Drone Light Painting

What’s your main source of inspiration when you’re behind the camera?

Nature and its organic infinite and diverse shapes. Most of my photography is done outdoor and throughout the world. That poses logistics questions regarding tools I can bring and accessibility conditions, a lot of planning ahead and many layers in my maps. Once I find myself at the location and in the process, I begin to play with the given elements, the tools I have in hand and the features of the landscape. Though planned ahead and engineered, the mystery awaits whilst I am drawing or lighting a subject, not knowing what impression it will bring. Same process applies for portraits, as they transform into landscapes using the same techniques, yet in another scale.

Drone Light Painting

How is the photography industry changing in the digital era? How does it affect Light Painting Photography?

As digital photography I believe it created lower entry barriers. This art form gets democratized, communities are created over online platforms and more and more excellent content is being created, allowing alternative forms of income for amateur photographers. It’s connecting people with common interests and merging lifestyles with professional lives. Sharing Passion and Love for the Light Art is made so much easier. Especially for Light Painting Photography is this aspect an accelerating factor for the progress exponential.

Loving it!

Light Painting White Pocket Milkyway

What else?

After many years of Light Painting Berlin and its surrounding,

mostly by myself and years of trying to find other enthusiasts to light paint together with wherever I would go a dream came true. In February 2019 Lightpainters.com was launched.

What is LightPainters? Together with Dan Roberts from Denver, Colorado and I found LightPainters as a platform/directory/map/database of Light Painters that can connect each other, show their work, and engage on the one topic on their mind.

In Dan I found not only a friend and a like-minded photographer but a software developer with incredible skills. He said man yes let’s do this. So the two of us joined in on the venture. The team was completed when Reagan and Natalia joined in as well. They would become a very important support role in the background. Looky critical on contend and also extremely important designing the incredible logo (see on the left)

So if you are also interested in Light Painting and want to get involved and meet up? Put yourself on Our map so we, LightPainters can find you and your work.

LightPainters Logo
Fiber Optic Light Painting Portrait Gunnar Heilmann

Thank you for your interest in Gunnar Heilmann – Light Painting Photography – Berlin


Not sure how you got here. But if you, by any chance have not yet seen my work I can send you to my Gallery.

Light Painting Pala Teth