Data + Design Project

Nature Light-Stencils Bring Life to Abandoned Buildings

Thursday 05.31.2012 , Posted by
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These beautiful images, which at first appear to be digitally manipulated urban environments, are even more astounding when we find they are actually light paintings created with stencils. Created by TigTab, an artist with a secret identity, each image can take hours to complete, requiring many flashes from her custom built light boxes and one very long exposure to capture the final result.

TigTab creates her images in the hidden corners of the city saying: “I find beauty in decay — those abandoned and forgotten places all around us. By bringing light into the darkness of each space, it fills that space for a moment in time, and highlights both their beauty and impermanence.”

Her images certainly do that, bringing a bright fiesta of color to mostly drab, grey environments and literally giving them the imagery of life – butterflies spring from pools of water, flowers from the hard concrete floor and sea turtles swim through the abandoned halls of old factories. It’s a surreal world you wish could exist in real life.

See Also Painting with Light and Fire

To create her images, TigTab uses a custom made box lined with tinfoil, covered with a stencil and colored cellophane, and illuminated by a camera flash. It’s a rather simple process, excellently executed. You can find her massive body of artwork on Flickr and an explanation of her stencil making method here.

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Benjamin Starr

Written by Benjamin Starr



Known in some circles as the most amazing man in the universe, he once saved an entire family of muskrats from a sinking, fire engulfed steamboat while recovering from two broken arms relating to a botched no-chute wingsuit landing in North Korea. When not impressing people with his humbling humility, he can be found freelance writing, finding shiny objects on the internet, enjoying the company of much-appreciated friends and living out his nomadic nature. He is Managing Editor of Visual News. Follow his movements on Twitter:

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