Todd Blaisdell is in Cordova, Alaska. A tiny town that you can only access by boat or plane. It's remote, beautiful and some pretty amazing stories are from there. I came across Todd and his incredible work through a friend.
Who are you and what do you do?
I am Todd Albert Blaisdell. I spread love throughout the land.
What do you love about photography?
Photography is a way to capture time and moments to be shared with those who cannot experience the time or moment themselves.
How did you come up with the idea of creating the light painting?
While I did not come up with Light painting myself, as it has been around for many years, I started taking long exposure photographs in my teens as a way to be allowed outside at night for hours without question. Truth is I was looking for a way to get out of the house and smoke some pot. As long as I came home with at least one photo then the night was successful. Actually, 20+ years of photography later that hasn’t changed much, ha! Except for the last 10ish years where I started to draw with lights while taking these photos.
What's the coolest photo you've created with light painting?
That's a hard one… I have created thousands of these images. For me, the coolest ones were in the beginning. I used to draw in the dark not having any idea what the outcome would be, and then once the shutter closed and I got to see the image I would be blown away at what I had created. These days I have a pretty good idea of what is supposed to be the end result, and when I don’t get it right there's a lot more disappointment than satisfaction. So while there is no one image that I can pick, I will say that the abstract work, with no intention behind it, is usually the coolest stuff.
What is your advice on trying to light paint? Any tips you have to remember?
My advice is to try it. If you have a long exposure setting on your camera then go for it. It's fun. Don’t be disappointed if you think others have amazing work and yours sucks. That's not what it's about. It about waving around flashlights at midnight in the dark with your friends and laughing at yourself. If you get any decent photos on any of these adventures that's just a bonus. Go out with your friends and have fun.
What are your favorite types of lenses to use?
I enjoy fisheye lenses for a lot of things.
What got you started in glass blowing?
I went to The Center For Creative Studies in Detroit, MI for photography after high school. I was disappointed in their photography courses and ultimately spent more time in the glass studio than in the darkroom as a result. After a while, I started manipulating beer bottles in a fire pit and then bought a scientific test tube kit from WALE scientific suppliers. Thankfully as the internet grew I was able to access some quality supplies and create my own glass studio over the years.
What do you typically like to create when you do glass blowing?
For the most part, I create Pipes. Being its something that I use and have the highest demand for. Pun intended. But I also enjoy the holiday season. I typically spend November and December creating customized Christmas ornaments. The folks I sell/give these to always thank me again, year after year every time the Christmas tree comes out. Jewelry also has that same nostalgia to it. So in summary, I like to create pieces that people love. Something that has true meaning to them.
What do you love about living in Alaska?
A million and one things. I live in Cordova. It's a small town with no road to the outside world. You can only get here by boat or plane. That in itself is an amazing thing. The majority of my food comes from a subsistence lifestyle of truly wild animals. Salmon, Moose, and Deer are my main proteins and the energy they provide is amazing when compared to a farm raised animal. I also love the extreme change of seasons and going from 20+ hours of light in the summer to 20+ hours of darkness in the winter.
If you were stuck on an abandoned island what five items would you want with you?
Camera. Knife. Magnifying Glass.
Coffee or tea?
Coffee in the morning, Tea at night. Heavy whipping cream in the coffee. Heavy Ginger in the tea.
If you could travel in history where would you go?
I’d go back before man, or at least modern man. I’d love to see this planet before we fucked it all up.