Dean Chamberlain is a very dedicated and patient light photographer. His models are people such as Timothy Leary, David Bowie and Paul McCartney and have endured sessions that last up to, and sometimes over, an hour to get the right image.

Chamberlain always wanted to be an artist, he says ‘When I turned 15, I knew I wanted to be a photographer, and by 23 I knew I was going to be a light painter forever. I’ve been a light painter for 32 years and I’m happier than ever to be what I am.’

When asked about his long exposures and how the models interact with this, Chamberlain replies: ‘In most of my light paintings the people in them are there for the entire length of the exposure. I try to be aware of their physical sensitivities. In the portrait of Alba Clemente she lay there for the entire three hours of the exposure. Younger folks tend to be able to stay put the whole time. Elder folk, well, I try to figure out ways that they don’t have to stay there the whole time.’

How was it to work with David Bowie and Paul McCartney? How did you get them to model for you? David Bowie is one of the greatest talents ever. I met him in a sushi restaurant near my old loft in Soho in New York City and showed him my portfolio. We hit it off and he wanted to collaborate with me on making some light paintings, which we did. I hope to work with him again in the future. Paul McCartney is a genius. I met him at his office in London, and then visited him and Linda while they were rehearsing near their home with the rest of the band. They hired me to make a video for their beautiful song, “This One,” in the light painting animation style that I’d used for Arcadia for their song “Missing” and for Duran Duran for their song “All She Wants.” Both the McCartneys and Bowie were extraordinarily polite people with no star attitude whatsoever. I’m a lucky guy. Sometimes.

Dean Chamberlain says he would like to work with, and do light paintings of, Iggy Pop, James Turrell and Brian Eno. Chamberlain worked on his first publication for 4 – 5 years, the photographers and light paintings were complete in 2009 but it took him 4 years non stop to get the writing right.

Anne and Erika: (see above) I made this in NYC in the late ‘80s on a tenth floor loft facing north on 19th street, between Park Ave and Irving Place. This was an unusual scene because I was really focused on making a beautiful light painting of Anne and Erica. As I began, I became kind of overwhelmed with frustration and got emotionally twisted up as I was lighting them. I kind of lost formation and felt like Iggy Pop performing with a flashlight. The resultant light painting really surprised me because I felt it was going to be total chaos when in fact it became quite beautiful.