Painting With Light

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The Magical Magic Lantern and Painting with Light


John invented his own form of 'Painting with light' (a very different and original 'special effect' technique), without using any computer, darkroom chemicals, or expensive equipment to create his unique top international award winning transparencies. 

His technique is pure photography on film and has nothing to do with moving lights to make light graffiti, or of lighting specific parts of a dark scene with a long exposure.  What it does involve is the photographing of projected images on to other things. 

John has found that the projector really lives up to its earlier known name - 'the magic lantern', as what can be done with projectors for photographers, really is magical! 

One of his best known pictures was titled 'Spirit of Spring', this was the first ever picture taken on Kodachrome (transparency film) that included both a negative of a tulip and a positive image of a girl's portrait, all on the same emulsion! 

No one knew at the time, how this could be possible, as it was created well before anyone had the use of computers. 

This little known technique involves the photographing of projected images, sometimes; he projected his image through a crystal, or reflected the projected image off various reflective surfaces, or through coloured cellophane, the projected image could be a negative, (colour or black and white) and he even used three or four projectors all together at times.  His chosen screen often became the subject of the picture, John has photographed projected images on to a shell, a flower, a butterfly wing, even the edges of the pages of a book! 

His freely available article titled 'The Magic Lantern' fully describes and explains exactly how anyone and everyone can do it. 

'The Magic Lantern' can be found at - 

Digital camera users could also use many of his techniques, as these special effects have certain qualities that are a little different from those achievable by digital manipulation. 

'Spirit of Spring' won The London Salon Trophy in 1967; this was then the first time a colour picture was deemed worthy of this much-coveted trophy, for it had only ever been awarded before for Black and White studies.  John was also the youngest member to have won it. 

There have been over 20 One-Man Exhibitions of John's photography (many were sponsored by Kodak) at major venues; 2 were held in New York, 4 in London, The Edinburgh Festival and many other UK & USA Cities. 

Favourable reviews and comments were received about John's photography from; Cecil Beaton
C.B.E., Sir William Russell Flint R.A., Lady Clementine Spencer-Churchill, Sir George F. Pollock Bt., M.A., F.R.P.S., F.R.S.A., 'The Times' and 'Arts Review' to name a few! 


John is currently creating new pictures "I use pure photography to express ideas, or thoughts, rather than reality. I trust that my pictures will intrigue, cause interest and be appreciated as very original art works that make quite a statement!" 

His limited editions (of only 8 of each picture) can be seen at: -

To see examples of John�s new images, in different colours, please have a look at: - 

You can also be kept informed on John Neville Cohen�s Facebook Fan page

John Neville Cohen, International top award winning photographer and artist, has other interests too, please have a look at  


'Painting With Light'


New Digital Pictures


Abstract Pictures


Slide Show


The Terms of Purchase




Press Release Information




Colour Possibilities for Art Consultants and Interior Designers


Reviews, Awards and Past Exhibitions




The Introduction by Sir George F. Pollock










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