Intentional camera movement experiments at the Stove Light Room

Light Room  was a week-long installation, workshop and sharing space that was created on the second floor of the Stove building in response to the UK 2016 Mental Health Awareness week.

Light Room aimed to promote mindfulness, exchange and open expression. Windows were almost blacked out and the black ceiling was decorated with red, blue and green fairy lights. Rainbow striped patches were applied to the bottom of glass panels. Lots of large prisms and crystals lay around on the windowsills – I was told that intense afternoon sun rays passed through the prisms and cast rainbow patterns inside the room. People were encouraged just to drop in throughout the day and use the space to relax, unwind and feel safe, or to attend one of the creativity and mindfulness workshops.

I came around with my camera on the first day of the project. John had an eye test scheduled and I preferred waiting for him at the Stove rather than at the opticians. Not everything was ready yet – Sal Cuddihy was still busy painting the walls with taboo language related designs – but Light Room already looked like a fascinating space to get creative in.

As it was a dull gloomy mid morning there was no chance of the naturally occurring rainbow projections. Instead I used a popular intentional camera movement technique (ICM) to interact with Light Room design in a more abstract way. ICM involves purposeful camera movements, such as panning, tilting, zooming etc., during slow shutter exposures. Back button focus and relatively narrow apertures helped me to transform flat window frames into 3D prisms floating above the floor, while rainbow glass patterns were stretched into whimsical stripes.

I experimented with a bunch of different shutter speeds and movement shapes – the result was a series of photos with unpredictable but undoubtedly conceptual motion blur effects.

Multi-coloured fairy lights ceiling in Light Room installation and sharing space

Multi-coloured fairy lights ceiling in Light Room installation and sharing space - zooming

Vertical tilt across a fairy light installation during slow shutter exposure

Dragging the shutter vertically to enhance the "falling stars"/"crazy sperm"/"music notes" feel

ICM stars and prisms at the Stove Light Room

ICM stars and prisms at the Stove Light Room

ICM - rotating the camera 360 degrees

Rainbow zig zags

Unpredictable abstracts produced by intentional camera movement

Unpredictable abstracts produced by intentional camera movement

The ICM swing stretches the rainbow pattern painted on the Light Room window

The ICM swing stretches the rainbow pattern painted on the Light Room window, Sal painting the walls in the background

Intentional camera movement photo taken during the Stove Light Room project

Intentional camera movement photo taken during the Stove Light Room project