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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 kinds of insects I have never seen before, and more I can’t explain.
From this context, 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.
We leave a trace directly or indirectly, being active or passive, a trace that is visible or subtle, by adding, taking, building or destroying, loving and hating, or simply by having a good talk to someone you care for.
Pushing it further, even dreaming and meditating leaves a trace behind. We create and shape the reality we live in right now just by being here breathing.

Imagine the moment of your death, looking back at your life. Think of everything you lived. The victories, the failures, how will it feel? What will you see? Can you see the trace you left in the people’s hearts you met?
I believe that everything we do stays imprinted somehow and influences everything through time. We are shaping the reality of today and tomorrow and even yesterday.

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 this 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 or the worst. I always feel and see the mark someone leaves inside me. Meeting someone can be a transformative and inspiring experience.

Interestingly, light painting is a cumulation of light, a trace that gives us a result, creating a final moment. Is life a form of light painting?
Understanding this about light painting, I made an engagement to leave the best trace possible in the overall picture of my life.
Of course, I make mistakes, live every human experience, and emotions but I keep practicing, going at it, tweaking, and doing my best to improve, learn, and sometimes fix the mistakes I made.

In this community, we’ve reached a fantastic point in opening the creative side of photographic light painting, like never before, we brought it into a new other world made by traces of light.
Our culture is young, healthy, and spreading well all over the world making people smile, gather, share, create, and shine.
Many have said that it changed their lives, some said it saved their life. 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 on the other, we have a medium that involves our mind, heart, body, and spirit.

So young is this culture, so much more can happen through it. Many of us are inspired and passionate about this medium.
The key is to share and inspire others with our passion. Initiate more friends and family, show them how to do something new and magical, 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. Inspire people to become creators.
It’s worth it, especially when you see their eyes lighting up after seeing what they created.

These, my friends, are a significant trace that we can leave behind.


TAO LP  (The Art Of Light Painting).

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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