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The trace we leave behind.

Here I am, sitting in the rainforest jungle of Australia drinking rainwater, surrounded by wildlife. Everything is alive, filled with movement, sounds, birds, wild kangaroos, koalas fighting at night screaming, snakes hiding and looking to feed, all kind of insects I have never seen before and more.
From here, I want to talk about the trace we leave behind.

Once visiting a temple in the mountains of Japan, a friend fixed something out of place there and said; Leave a place, better than how you found it.

This sentence stayed with me all these years and made me reflect on my passage on earth.
By now we should all be conscious that our time is limited here, that we are just passing by like billions of people have done for thousands of years, leaving a trace behind us.
We leave a trace directly or indirectly, being active or passive, a trace that is visible or not, by adding, taking, building or destroying, love and hate, or, by having a good talk to someone you care for. Pushing it further, even dreaming and meditating also leaves a trace behind. We create and shape the reality we live in right now just by being here.

Think of the moment of your death for a moment and look back at your life, how will you feel knowing that you are going away?
Can you see the trace you left in peoples hearts? Can you see all your mistakes and learnings, what life you have created for yourself and others?
I believe that everything we do stays imprinted somehow and influences others through time. We are shaping the reality of today and tomorrow.

Some people had a near death experience, I know people who had, and many said they saw their life flash in front of them at the moment of death.
Perhaps this understanding is something we should wrap our minds around and integrate into our daily lives to guide us and help us make the best choices possible at every moment, becoming conscious of the trace we leave behind, taking responsibility for it.

I started noticing that in people we meet and connect with, we leave a trace in them as others do in ourselves. Sometimes subtle and sometimes evident for the best and the worst. I always feel and see the mark someone leaves inside myself. Sometimes, meeting someone can be a transformative and inspiring experience.

It’s interesting that light painting is about a trace of light cumulating to give a result, creating a final moment.
Understanding this about light painting, I made an engagement to leave the best trace possible in the overall picture of our lives.
Of course, I make mistakes, but I keep practicing, tweaking and doing my best to improve and sometimes fix the mistakes I made.

As a community, we reached a fantastic point in opening the creative side of photography uniquely and like never before.
Our light painting culture is young, healthy and spreading all over the planet making people smile, gather, share, create and shine.
Many have said that it changed their lives. For some, light painting helps them to find fulfillment, gratification, amazement, or the freedom to play and connect with others.

With the technical side on the one hand and the creative side in the other, we have a medium that involves our mind, heart, body, and soul.

So much more can happen, so young is this culture. Many of us are inspired and passionate about this medium. The key is to share and inspire others. Gather more friends and family, show them how to do something simple, so they get a taste of it. Do a Meet-Up for your community, involve people who never did photography before. Initiate elders and retired folks, get the children involved. Empower people to become creators, with light.
It’s worth it, especially when you see their eyes lighting up afterward.

This, my friends, is a significant trace of light that we are leaving behind.

About The Author

Patrick Rochon

Painting with actual light has been a fascination for two and a half decades now. Having explored many techniques, created many different light tools and light painted thousand of pieces, I’ve come to a place of finding beauty in simplicity, opening a world of small details within a line that contains it all. To me, that is where fine art begins. Patrick is an award-winning Light Painting photographer with over 24 years of experience. First prize winner of the Nikon photo contest in Japan, Patrick has done light painting photography for various fashion, rock magazines, CD jackets, DVD covers, posters, and international ad campaigns. Clients also include Toyota and Honda. Born in Montreal, Canada, Patrick has lived mainly in Tokyo, New York and Paris for 15 years.


  1. Denis Smith

    Patrick, spending time with you recently, spreading the light, I could not agree with you more. I think we left a colourful, warm and loving trail of light behind. Peace

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