24 Mar Frodo Álvarez
Hi everyone, My name is Alfredo although everybody knows me as Frodo. I was born in Oviedo and I’ve been living in Madrid for the last 5 years.
I originally studied mathematics and then worked as a programmer for 10 years, until I decided to leave it all behind and bet everything on light painting, founding the firm and collective Children Of Darklight.
I was a fan of photography, and also of music, organizing concerts and festivals, travelling, starting a band, and even running the alternative label Threepoint Records with other colleagues. The truth is that light painting has now taken over all of that. My other hobbies would be travelling, snowboarding, colleagues, cinema, TV series, concerts, exhibitions… and enjoying time with my partner Patry and in my homeland, Asturias.
How did you get started in LP?
My first steps in light painting were made without even knowing what light painting was – having fun one weekend with friends in a cabin back in 2007 and 2008, with my old Panasonic LUMIX Fz18, which allowed me to take exposures up to 1 minute, and using torches, lighters and head torches as light tools.
But it wasn’t until 2009, when I saw an article in a Muy Interesante magazine called “Graffitis de luz” , that my head exploded and I felt the spark of my artistic awakening, because it united two arts that I loved, photography and graffiti, and a world of creative possibilities opened up before me.
Since then, Light Painting has taken over my life from being a hobby to a passion, until today it is what I live from and I am still continuing to explore this marvelous art form
What do you like most about the Light Painting? And what do you like least?
I like a lot of things about light painting, starting with the fact that you don’t have to get up early in the morning to do it 😉
From a more personal point of view, light painting has become a tool that allows me to escape, to create, to enjoy myself, to grow, to experiment, and if you need it, it can serve as a healing and relaxing therapy. Also when I share my light paintings with others I get energized by the energy they give off when they are excited, enjoying themselves and involved in the process – in fact it was the contact with other people at my light painting events which I missed most during the lockdowns.
On the other hand, light painting also gives me wonderful life experiences, such as travelling, meeting other light painters, photographers, artists, friends, the people you meet along the way…
The other thing I love about light painting is the fact that it is still an emerging art which is still growing – both in terms of the artform itself and also in terms of the size of the community – and there is still a lot to create and discover, a universe of possibilities.
What I like the least? This one is difficult to answer, I prefer to stick to the good things!
What do you want to convey?
Well, here I’m going to differentiate a bit between my work and personal projects, and what I do for work. Obviously when I do light painting for work, the aim is to create experiences that excite the participants or spectators, transmit company values, reinforce branding, highlight products, entertain… there can be many things in addition to the creation of a beautiful artistic work.
If we talk about the rest of the things I do, my photos, my sessions, or my videos on YouTube, what I mainly look for is to enjoy light painting, experiment, and create, and get results that I, and the participants, like. From there, the more I like it, the more it get shared, and the more it is appreciated, the better, of course – if I happen to get a photo I like to make people look, to enjoy it, or to make them travel or think, that that would be a real success.
Sometimes it also happens that the photos that I enjoy the most are not the ones that get the most likes, and vice versa, so I think the important thing is to really enjoy it and release that need for creation that we have. In the case of the videos on YouTube, where I have the light painting channel Children Of Darklight TV, or my masterclasses or workshops, I also seek to entertain as well as to teach, and to spread light painting so that it becomes better known and continues to grow.
Which photographers, lightpainters and/or artists in general have influenced you?
I think that almost all of the artists that I have admired and have influenced me the most have passed through the international light painting congress LightArtOVD, which we held in Oviedo in 2014 and 2016. Among them Darius Twin, TCB, Jannepaint, Lichtfaktor, Jan Leonardo, Cisco Light Painting, Hugo Baptista, Iris Shyroii, El niño de las luces, Veronica de Benedetti, Hannu Huhtamo…; or others like Julien Breton, Aurora Crowley…or more currently, others like Sfhir, Diliz, Mass, Tim Gamble, Tom Hill, Chris Thompson, Mart Barras, Sita Vilaça… never cease to surprise and inspire. And I’m sure I’m leaving out many, forgive me!
What 3 tools do you always carry with you?
Actually I always carry more than three, although depending on what I’m going to do, maybe not the same three, and if I carry the minikit, maybe not even that – what a mess… haha!! I remember a party where I ended up doing a portrait session with a mobile phone that did light painting, and a Led Lenser P7QC torch that has white, green, red and blue, I used it to illuminate the models, and to make colour effects with a cone improvised with a sheet of paper.
Let’s see, to answer the question, the tool that is always present is the head torch, it’s rare that I forget it as many can attest 😉 Another one would be the DKL Scanner that allows me to illuminate and create effects, and the final one would be a big and powerful torch like the Led Lenser MT18.
What has been your biggest photographic challenge or your most difficult photo to achieve?
Well, there are several that come to mind and I can’t decide on one. A scene done in a hairdresser’s, where there was a mirror that made it very difficult to paint, because it was very easy for unwanted lights to be reflected, I was alone, and it took us quite a few attempts until it came out (see below for the photo); or also a lightmob we did in Bogotá (Colombia) where, due to technical problems, a projector failed and we had to mark by hand – thank goodness Sfhir was in the team, a specialist in large-scale murals! -and in the end we managed to resolve all the problems and the result was a total success (making of ); or the photo we did in China with an international team of lightpainters with a typhoon above us… yes, a typhoon, a great adventure that not only went well, but it was one of the best experiences of my life; other challenges with friends like the Giant Lightman of Getafe, which was done in a single attempt of 1h and 40 minutes… and with no possibility of a second attempt… and we did it! An animation that Sfhir and I did for a videoclip and that required us to light paint every single night for a month. Or a great challenge, our participation in the TV show Got Talent Spain, getting the 4 “yes” votes from the jury after a long day.
How did you came up with the idea of creating light painting in a big way and massive photos?
Well, the first one took place in Oviedo in 2013, and I have to thank Chus Neira for suggesting me to participate in the Noche Blanca Oviedo to see if I could take a photo from above, which would highlight the artistic mosaic that was on the promenade of the San Francisco Park (making of). That was the beginning of everything, to see what we could do and what we were capable of doing with light painting, and that we could have ambitious ideas and think big.
Nowadays we feel very proud of our achievements and are starting to receive recognition, in the form of awards, for our effort and dedication. For example we recently received the ‘BEST CULTURAL EVENT of the year’ award at the Eventoplus 2021 Awards for our LightMOB ‘Santander es Luz‘ and were also awarded ‘BEST EXPERIENCE’ for our Photocall Light Painting (in its most spectacular version – GIGANTES DE LUZ). In both cases we have to thank the When&Where agency for their commitment to us. These awards, in turn, are another step forward for the light painting community and for the visibility of light painting.
Do you remember any special moments doing LP?
Are you kidding? Lots of them! light painting is my life and I remember too many special moments!.
To start with, all those moments of laughter in many of our encounters, sessions, etc. As well, every light painting trip is an adventure and an unforgettable experience. Adventures such as China (which I mentioned before),Las Vegas, Merzouga, Los Ángeles y el desierto de Mojave, Cologne, Belgium, Bogota… are unforgettable memories of my life. Very special moments are also our successes in various events and the emotions of the people involved, the awards and recognitions, or even the personal light painting invitations, which to date I have been present in two, and those are really unique moments.
Life lessons, like when our friend Pala Teth, to whom I send a big hug from here, fell into a well in the dark in the middle of a photo – thank goodness nothing happened to him other than a big scare for him and for all of us -with the subsequent message that we all take with us to always be cautious in the dark. Moments also like the ones we had with the international congress of light painting in Oviedo (news), those who had the opportunity to enjoy it know what I’m talking about, and we hope that someday it can happen again.
Where would you like to do a Light Painting session?
Mayan and Aztec temples, salt lakes, ice caves, science fiction scenarios, on the space station, on the moon… we could go on like this all day.
If you could only keep one photograph, which one would you choose? Why?
This one with Patry, because it was from our first session together, and it was the beginning of the best trip of my life.
What advice would you give to new lightpainters?
That they learn to enjoy it, to experiment, to get to know the lights, to create, to share with their people, and with their colleagues.
I also invite them to participate in the Light Painting communities on FB like Light Painting España or Telegram Light Painting News, where I am an administrator, and where we can all share our work, doubts, news, share and grow.
Greetings of light to all of you .
*Discount not available for Kits
Follow Frodo Álvarez here:
Instagram: @childrenofdarklight https://www.instagram.com/childrenofdarklight/
Facebook: @childrenofdarklight https://www.facebook.com/childrenofdarklight
YouTube Children Of Darklight TV: https://www.youtube.com/childrenofdarklighttv
TikTok: @childrenofdarklight https://www.tiktok.com/@childrenofdarklight
Twitter: @childrenofdkl https://twitter.com/childrenofdkl
Instagram @photocall_lightpainting https://www.instagram.com/photocall_lightpainting/