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The Joy of Shooting Double Exposures on Film


One of the many marvelous photography techniques provided by analog photography is the double (or multiple) exposure of film directly on camera. I’ve always been fascinated by the possibility of handling the negative from the moment of shooting, and this factor was the key one for me when it came the time to chose a camera.

I needed a fully mechanical camera that allows me to control shutter speed, aperture, and lock the film for double exposures.

Nowadays, it’s relatively easy to produce double exposure photos. Although I like digital photography, I’ve always preferred to create my double exposures with my trusty old camera — to get out in the streets and enjoy shooting while avoiding tedious hours of post-production in front of a computer screen and then often ending up with a result that is closer to graphic design than photography.

The magic of double exposure is limitless. I love how it’s possible to mix and mash spaces that are completely different from each other, to make them clash inside a new world that comes to life inside a negative.

I call it pre-darkroom; a manipulation of reality that we cannot affect in any way. Only at the time of processing the film will we see how the planes stack with each other. Most times it is actually almost impossible to discern how the images complement each other; it might be simple luck, or it might very well be that these two worlds really take a life of their own on the silver of the film, and they become something else.

In the end, what we try to do is to clumsily control the light.

About the author: Sergi Escribano is a photographer based in Barcelona, Spain. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Escribano studied at the Catalan Institute of Photographic Studies, and his work has been exhibited in the US, UK, and Spain. You can find more of Escribano’s work on his website, Twitter, and Instagram.