After shooting almost an entire roll of film on a La Sardina in Sydney, Australia in 2011, I took the same camera overseas to the US five months later where it turns out I accidentally exposed the same roll again. The results urged me to take advantage of multiple-exposure techniques that I often previously forgot about.
It was the last remaining weeks in Sydney before I was due to fly to the US to embark on a semester abroad of college at the University of Missouri. A couple of friends and I gathered our lomo cameras and set off to the local dam which is surrounded by photogenic dry forests. With my La Sardina in hand, loaded with a rather unadventurous but disposable-camera favorite Kodak UltraMax 400, I shot half the roll off during that afternoon.
After we’d finished frolicking in the grass wielding our plastic-cams, I popped mine back into the glove compartment of my car where it lives.
Five months passed and I’m living in the US. More specifically Columbia, Missouri – a rather moderately-sized college town where I was partying my way through a semester abroad. A good friend of mine was visiting and he kindly fetched my La Sardina from the glove compartment of my car and packed it in his suitcase to bring to me.
During the months I was without the camera it somehow managed to knot itself up and I needed to fix it to continue shooting the roll.
Challenge accepted. I found myself wrestling it into functioning. After very little patience and minimal real effort, I chose to manually rewind the film backwards (thank you La Sardina for that ease-of-use) and start shooting from there.
What resulted was how I discovered the power and creative possibilities of multiple exposures (MX). Unintentionally or not.
If any of you are like myself, a bit of a lomography rookie, then I’ll do my best to explain the concept of MX. Essentially you take two or more exposures on one slide/frame of film. The result is basically multiple images on top of each other in a single frame. You can typically achieve this by simply capturing a photograph and then flicking the switch marked “MX” on your lomography camera and you’re ready to take another shot right over that first one.
After finishing the roll off, I took it to be developed.
The results were a little hit and miss because, of course, the double exposures were entirely accidental. I had a fair few images that just plainly made no sense. I also had humorous pictures of friends at college exposed over the trees in Sydney.
This following photograph, however, is what urged me to share my accidental experimentation. On the right side is Amy who had joined me taking photos back in Sydney in early December 2011. On the left side is Lori getting herself dressed up before a night out, taken in May of 2012. It was pure luck that each of them happened to be on opposite sides of the frame.
Living on two different sides of the earth makes taking a photo of them both together obviously quite challenging. Thanks to my accidental discovery of multiple exposures, I can now enjoy and share pictures like these. And even if they feature people you don’t know and may never have the pleasure of meeting, you can still see the visual impact made by such a small, sometimes forgotten technique.
Perhaps you’ve got a half-finished roll of film left in a forgotten camera on the shelf that you could rewind and re-expose? Try it for yourself. You never know what the results will look like but I can bet there will be some accidental gem that you’ll want to share too.
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