Double exposure portraits of Bene and Lyrik
My plans to open public wet plate photo studio here in Bratislava are more tangible than they were in spring. But still, at these months, I'm working with people on a very irregular basis. Maybe the rarity of these live seasons is one of the reasons, why I like them so much. As a landscapist I have to admit that It is nice when you can to talk with your subjects. And when you can share the experience and results with them.
I had been with Bene a Lyrik, members of Modre hory music band, in contact for some time. I like their music. Modre hory is labeled as a hip hop band, but frankly, in core it is a contemporary urban poetry band more than anything else.
Finally, we were able to meet. It was in the middle of records breaking period of hot weather, so even in the late afternoon temperatures were above 30 degrees of Celsius. I decided to work outside in the garden and use a portable darkroom box for developing.
Lyrik and Bene I made a test shoot a day before the session. One Holga plate, just to see if the chemistry works in these hot conditions. I made a double exposure selfie, attempting to find a way how to capture two musicians in one picture in a stronger and not so conventional manner.
Photo session began with standard portrait, just heads slightly bent together. It was something after 5 pm, an open shadow with a beautiful, soft but rich light. The exposure time was 5 seconds with F 5,6, later in the evening it had to be increased to 8 seconds. After the first plate I made some attempts based on the sketches I made but was not satisfied with results.
I had considered using of Holga and create a multi-plate portrait, but refused it and continued with big plates and made two double exposure portraits. Every exposure was cut by a half, so properly exposed face was only in the overleaping parts. I was running out of time.
The light was deteriorating and I was starting to make mistakes, even scratch one plate in the most stupid way. I like the organic bestiality of the left plate, but with the last plate I wanted to create the best possible fit. I marked on the ground glass a position of one eye with a bit of a tape and used it as a reference point when I was composing the second exposure.
I hope the evening was great not just for me and that the boys from Modre hory really enjoyed it. As a wet plate portrait photographer, you can offer not just the final plate, but a unique experience, time traveling into time, when photography was a young and fresh medium. And sometimes, with some luck, you manage to capture things, that can't be captured in other ways.
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