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  • Betty Girardeau

Seeing Double


I can remember back in the day of film photography being pretty upset when I picked up my developed pictures and discovered that I had wasted one because I forgot to advance the film and had taken a double exposure. Today, just as I enjoy ICMs, which in film days were bad accidents and a ruined picture, I have found creating double exposures fun. My mirrorless camera even has a setting that allows me to plan and take a double exposure. And there are a lot of on-line tutorials about how to create these "artsy" images. As soon as I saw double exposures that others had created intentionally, I had to try it out, too. My husband was always very supportive of my photography efforts and willingly agreed to be the subject of my first double exposure using my then new Olympus mirrorless camera. Quite a few of the tutorials for creating these fun images using Photoshop are ones using a portrait and some kind of natural scene so that is what I wanted to try first. Photoshop and I, even to this day, have a love/hate relationship, so I was thrilled that my camera would pretty much do the work for me if I planned the two images correctly. It's important to know which image you want to capture first so that the second image overlays the first one in such a way that both images are balanced and work with each other for the right effect. My husband did have a beard, though not one as bushy as my flowering cherry tree, but I think the two images do work pretty well together. And now, three years after his death, I find this portrait a whimsical representation of my husband's memory. Unlike ICM's, where the creation is a bit of a lark, double exposures need to have reason and planning behind them, so I don't do a lot of them. But done right, I think they can convey interesting and powerful messages. I have one of the Chicago skyline on my website in the Art gallery. You might want to take a look at it, too.

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