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Photographer lights up the town

By by timothy dangerspecial to the advocate
Sept. 12, 2012 at 4:12 a.m.

Jake Ramirez doesn't use Photoshop.

"When I first started doing it (photography), I decided I wanted to do it right, so I learned as much as I could about my camera," he said. "That's the kind of knowledge I wanted to have."

It doesn't stop the odd message on his Facebook or a photography thread telling him he needs to "fess up."

"All my pictures have EXIF data. They can tell you what exactly I opened the picture in and saved it as. It will tell you if I used Photoshop," he said.

Ramirez, who is in the independent photography community and goes by the handle "Sumerian Lights," isn't shy about sharing his techniques. He often invites aspiring and experienced photographers to join him on shoots to see his process and share information on "light painting."

"If I show someone else how to do it, maybe they will go off and do their own thing," he said.

Light painting is long exposure photography using any type of light source you can to be creative with. It really makes the photographer understand and delve into their surrounding environment to get a picture.

"There is no trickery. It's just a way to express yourself and do something different."

Although it has been around for decades (Picasso used to light paint), social networking has made it to be a growing artistic subculture.

Ramirez is most known in the community for painting orbs, and more recently, his new techniques with hands that he has adopted from other light painters.

While he works on his portfolio taking band pics, model shoots and other standard photo gigs, the art of what he does is not lost on him.

"I want people to realize that life is hard. It's not easy to walk through or wake up to everyday. But I found something that makes me happy, and I do that as my release. I have a day job. I choose to. I make enough money to live, and I take pictures, and I'm happy. When I'm staring through my viewfinder, getting my light tools out, nothing bothers me."

Timothy Danger is the music and content director as well as a co-host of the Old Man and Bitter Girl Podcast, which focuses on independent music, art and culture. He is also a musician.



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