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. 

kaalam: light calligraphy ‘undercover’ brooklyn bridge, new york, USA photograph by david gallard

image © julien breton

kaalam: light calligraphy ‘freedom’ worksop, england photograph by david gallard

image © julien breton

kaalam: light calligraphy‘lux – lumière’ photograph by david gallard

image © julien breton

kaalam: light calligraphy‘aerial’ photograph by david gallard

image © julien breton

kaalam: light calligraphy ‘intimité’ dampsmesnil, france photograph by david gallard

image © julien breton



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

  • And thanks to Designboom for this article…

  • @ 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.

  • 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.

  • very impressive!!!!!

  • 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

  • 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

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

  • waw waw waaaaw.

    Its nice to push the limits

    Great Job.

    Keep it up .

    -love and light-



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