Double Exposure

I am preparing a session on alternative photography for the U3AC Photo Forum.  The idea is to encourage people to break away from straightforward use of a digital camera.  One approach is to go back to film and create deliberate double exposures.  I loaded an M6 with Ilford XP2 (ISO 400) and set the film speed on the camera at ISO 800 to give half the exposure.  For the first exposure I shot mainly buildings and open street scenes.  At the end of the reel I rewound the film and reloaded it.  For the second exposure I shot mainly people, close up, full length or in groups.  The exposed film was processed by a high street chain store.

The results 1.  A. The overall exposure is accurate and even across all frames.  B. Breaks between frames are not accurately synchronised, but complete breaks across a frame are comparatively rare.  C. In a significant number of the pictures the first exposure is dominant.  This may be due to: (a) the subject of the second having overall more darker tones (and vice versa); and/or (b) under exposure of the second, which were grabbed shots compared with the more carefully exposed first.  I think it’s probably important to avoid large areas of light tones in either exposure.

The results 2.  Are the pictures any good?  Quite a few of the shots haven’t worked due to C above.  Others are not successful because the overlying of exposures has not produced any worthwhile combination – the approach that I used makes it almost impossible to marry up complementary images.  This might be overcome with more careful planning and a more limited choice of subjects to allow some degree of pre-visualisation.  There are a few images that are interesting and give encouragement to explore the technique further.  But maybe it’s just down to serendipity.

This entry was posted in Cambridge, Film, Street Photography, U3AC Photography Courses. Bookmark the permalink.

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