Photo credit – Pete Eckert
Light Paintings by Pete Eckert
Retinitis pigmentosa started robbing Pete Eckert of his sight in the mid 1980’s. It would seem counterintuitive to most of us to choose, at a time when the world is becoming darker, to pick up a camera and take a greater interest in photography as a method of artistic expression, but that’s exactly what Pete did.
Trained as an industrial designer, an aspiring architect and sculptor at the time he was diagnosed around 30 years ago, Pete Eckert has gone on to become an award-winning professional photographer with a unique approach to capturing images. This attracted the attention of car manufacturer Volkswagen, who were looking for an artistic way to promote their upcoming model, The Arteon.
Pete’s method for creating the spellbinding images we see featured in the Volkswagon Arteon advertisements was to take ultra long exposure pictures and double exposures in absolute darkness on an analogue camera. He gradually circled the car using multicoloured handheld lights and deflectors, moving both rapidly so that light falls on every surface during the exposure and the only constant in the resulting image is the car.
In preparation for taking the pictures, Pete Eckert’s method is no less unique. First of all, he familiarised himself with all the features, specifications and characteristics of the car. He then methodically worked his way around the Arteon touching every surface, even tapping on its bodywork to build up an impressively detailed mental picture of it before setting up the camera.
A unique visual creation
The results are eerie, abstract and certainly avant-garde. In the 10 picture photoshoot, the bursts of colour and light create a feeling of motion and have an ethereal quality which make it hard to believe that such works were produced by someone who is completely blind. Truly they are works of art and the term ‘Light Paintings’ completely represents what Pete Eckart creates.
“The new Arteon represents expressive, avant-garde design. Pete Eckert has presented this design in a unique way. The images he has created are genuine works of art and have a very special atmosphere that only he can create. We have found Pete to be an impressive personality and would like to thank him for the fantastic cooperation,” – Xavier Chardon, Head of Marketing at Volkswagen.
Pete’s story and his attitude towards his blindness are inspirational. Describing his work as “A bridge between the world of the blind and sighted.” Pete regards the incredible pictures he creates as merely a byproduct, what he gets out of his art is the event itself and comparing the memory of the shoot to the descriptions of what sighted people say when they speak about the images he’s created. In his own words, “I am a visual person. I just can’t see.”