Noel Kerns, light painter

Noel Kerns is a Dallas photographer who risks life and limb finding derelict structures, crawling inside, illuminating them with small gelled lights and photographing them. The images that result have a stillness that says something about decay and the passage of time, but (thanks to the long exposures he often uses) a hint of life in the streaking contrails of stars and headlights flashing past on nearby interstates. They're unsettling, and very beautiful. (Flickr)


  1. He’s good, but it looks like his work is pretty heavily influenced by Troy Paiva, one of the originators of the light painting technique. Troy’s stuff is truly amazing. His site:

  2. There is this German photographer who does similar old builings, but in the dead of night.

    Sets camera on long exposure and walks around “painting” the landscape with the beam of a flashlight.

    1. This is Noel Kerns (the photographer)…That’s essentially what I do as well; this image was taken several hours after dark along Route 66 / I-40, with a strobe fired inside the building, and a flashlight used to paint the exterior walls. 3 minute exposure.

  3. Loved his Kansas set – brings me right back to high school backroading adventures, *discovering* old run-down houses in the middle of nowhere.

    The kind of trips that were not for the faint of heart – once the floor of an abandoned 1880s house unexpectedly dropped 3 feet out from underneath us. When we looked thru the windows to the basement/cellar – the whole house was held up with a few 2x4s. Scary.

  4. Being as I am a lighting guy, you KNOW I love these photographs. Spooky, evocative and beautifully rendered. Thank so much for this post!

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