Gjon Mili a LIFE photographer visited Pablo Picasso in the South of France in 1949. Mili, a technical lighting genius, showed the artist some of his photographs of ice skaters with tiny lights affixed to their skates jumping in the dark. Picasso grew fascinated as his creativity began to stir. The series of photographs shown below were known as Picasso’s “light drawings.” They were made with a small flashlight or “light pencil” in a dark room.
One of the photos entitled, “Picasso draws a centaur in the air,” became famous as the rest of the images disappeared in thin air.