Gjon Mili was an engineer and self-taught Albanian-American photographer, who was born in 1904. He arrived in America from Albania in 1923 and began working for LIFE. He was able to capture such images using stroboscopic photography, a technique that combines an electronic flash unit with prolonged exposure times to create studied models of movement and gesture, which Mili pioneered while studying electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Gjon is one of the photographers who shaped dance for camera as we know it today. Mili’s creation of photoflash photography work was just his first gift to the light painting world. In the 1940’s Gjon attached small lights to the boots of ice skaters he then opened the shutter of his camera and created what would be the inspiration for some of the most famous light painting images ever created. His most famous series is Picasso drawing with light. Many of his most famous images are of beautiful graceful movement that happens to rapidly for the eye to see.
At Life, Mr. Mili photographed dancers, actors, jazz musicians and athletes. His photographs are collectted in several books, including, ”Gjon Mili: Photographs and Recollections,” ”Photographs of Picasso,” ”The Magic of Opera” and ”Picasso et la Troisi eme Dimension.”
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