Renowned LIFE photographer Gjon Mili, a technical genius and lighting innovator extraordinaire, visited Pablo Picasso in the South of France in 1949. Mili showed the artist some of his photographs of ice skaters with tiny lights affixed to their skates, jumping in the dark — and Picasso’s lively mind began to race. This series of photographs, since known as Picasso’s “light drawings,” were made with a small flashlight or “light pencil” in a dark room; the images vanished almost as soon as they were created. However, while the “Picasso draws a centaur in the air” photo is rightly celebrated and famous, many of the images in this gallery are far less well-known — and equally thrilling.
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