kaalam: light calligraphy
kaalam: light calligraphy kaalam: light calligraphy
oct 27, 2011

kaalam: light calligraphy

‘last train’ brooklyn, new york, USA photograph by david gallard image © julien breton

exploring the gestures and movements of calligraphy, nantes-based artist kaalam (aka julien breton) has created a body of work that uses hand-held light and long-exposure photographic techniques to capture the transient form within a real setting. often utilizing urban or historical sites as his three-dimensional canvas, the self-taught artist creates his own latin-based alphabet that heavily draws from traditional arabic and eastern calligraphy. arresting and provocative, the floating light forms are not mere superimposed subjects but display a direct engagement with the surroundings.

the capturing process, which can take as long as ten minutes, requires a choreographed movement which kaalam practices before hand in heavy repetition. different colours of ‘ink’ is achieved through pigmented gelatin which is applied directly onto the lamps. none of the photographs are retouched or edited, illustrating the laborious process in a single shot. 

‘undercover’ brooklyn bridge, new york, USA photograph by david gallard

image © julien breton

‘freedom’ worksop, england photograph by david gallard

image © julien breton

‘lux – lumière’ photograph by david gallard

image © julien breton

‘aerial’ photograph by david gallard

image © julien breton

‘intimité’ dampsmesnil, france photograph by david gallard

image © julien breton


  • waw waw waaaaw.

    Its nice to push the limits

    Great Job.

    Keep it up .

    -love and light-


    LaMakki says:
  • Been done over 10 years now! There’s even coffee table books made of it

    Canalldo says:
  • i’m sorry to say that, but it’s a fake.
    the original caligraphe is marko93 a french grafiti artist from the 80’s

    you ca see his work here.
    he have make lot of performance in arabian world.

    in french we said “il faut rendre a cesar ce qui appartient a cesar.”
    thank you to restore truth

    wedz says:
  • I think it is a beautiful and skillful application of the tradition/technique of light painting, I would hang a print like that on my wall with great pleasure

    SMcD. says:
  • very impressive!!!!!

    john says:
  • wedz, is fake meaning that this has been done before, or do you think this is a real fake and a cut and paste?

    you need some proof if so.

    pete says:
  • @ Wedz : My name is Julien Breton aka Kaalam and I’m the creator of this photographies. It’s not at all a fake. Marko 93 is a friend of mine (do you want his phone number?) and we done events together, but that’s not Marko 93 photographies. This photographies are mine (please have a look to my website http://www.kaalam.com). And for sure, not digitaly manipulated. It’s only freehand light-painting.
    So please, before speaking, be sure of what you say.

    Kaalam says:
  • And thanks to Designboom for this article…

    Kaalam says:
  • onya kaalam, glad you replied. to me they are fantastic and i thank you for them

    pete says:

    pete says:
  • yes, fake meaning that this has been done before,
    a sample if you want.
    @kaalam… great ! marko is your Friends, well done, but whatever, it’s a copy. certainly a good copy.

    wedz says:
  • @pete : ?????
    @wedz : So only the first man who done graffiti on a wall do graffiti? The others who use the same medium with a different style are only good to copy? Ok… Interesting. Marko is one of the first man who done light graffiti, yes, sure, but Vicky Da Silva, Picasso, man ray too and before him. So Marko is a copier?

    Kaalam says:
  • Sorry wedz, the second guy who signed ‘pete’ was not me. personally i luv it. some d##khead.

    pete ... the first one says:
  • very poetic and contemporary re-iteration of hassan masoudy’s explorations. well done and respect

    amin says:
  • These are done well, fake or not, they look the part. They are technically well achieved. The problem is that this kind of photography is very boring, and very over done. Surely you could use your talents in a more original way, or in a way that actually says something. Crappy graffiti tags made of light or still just crappy graffiti tags.

    Theremin Nipplecat says:
  • Do you not think that what is beautiful about these ‘crappy graffiti tags’ is the fact they took around 10 minutes and a ‘choreographed dance’? Also that it is an entire new alphabet? or that it is placing graffiti tags within air, as a movement, rather than how it would usually be on a surface in paint?

    Annie says:
  • Kalaam,
    Beautiful work!

    Unfortunately, by showing them to the public, you’re opening yourself up to criticizm… and people have a right to say whatever they want about your work. I say that any feedback, even negative, is better than no feedback. The fact that your work has elicited such strong opinions in both directions means you’re doing something right!

    Mike says:

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