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.