Double Exposures

Two part-overlapping film photos of a dog sleeping on a sofa.

Digitally-manipulated photography has meant that composite images have for some time been practically ubiquitous. One kind of composite image less in evidence than in years past, however, is the double-exposure (or multiple-exposure) native to film photography. Skilled professionals could exploit such re-exposures to striking effect, but these photos were much oftener the accidental results of error or malfunction. An example is the shot above, which I call Sleeping Dogs Lie, where I ended up with a pair of part-overlapping frames of my late Labrador.

Another more abstract-looking example is the one below, where, forgetting I had a 24-frame roll loaded rather than a 36-frame one, I repeatedly exposed and tried to advance the tail end of the film. I have dabbled a few times with superimposing images digitally - for example: this self-portrait) - but the results haven’t have quite the same flavour. And indeed, why even try to ape the look of film double-exposures when there are so many other was to play with images digitally?

A black and white accidental multiple exposure film photo.