Tech Info | PHOTO

 

 

 

Take a look

behind the scenes and learn how the artworks are made

 

 

What is a multiple exposure?

Multiple exposure is a technique of analog photography that superimposes two or more exposures and combines them to a single image. Unlike a common single exposure, the same part of the film is exposed two or more times.
All artworks on strehmann.com are photographed on analog film material using the technique of multiple exposure. They are solely created without the help of digital image editing.

 

Exposure 1/3
Exposure 1/3
Exposure 2/3
Exposure 2/3
Exposure 3/3
Exposure 3/3
The superimposed result
The superimposed result

 

Photographic color films underly the principle of additive mixture of colors. In general terms, at the beginning the image is black (no light hit the film yet) and each shot exposes the film a bit more and makes the image or parts of it brighter.

 

Operating outside the exposure latitude of a color negative film will cause either under- or overexposing. In case of multiple exposures it’s important to note that the total amount of light which ensures to stay within the contrast range of the film has to be distributed on the number of exposures.

The mentioned light quantity which hits the film is decisive for the clarity of one exposure. It defines how much an exposure is brought to the fore and how it merges with the others: whether it appears almost transparent, passes through other exposures partially or is clear enough to overlay them.

 

According to the additive color mixing, it’s not possible to make the image darker afterwards with a further exposure. For this reason the evaluation of exposure settings (mainly regulated by shutter speed and aperture size) has to be approached with particular caution. The more exposures an image will be composed of, the more advisable the use of bracketed series becomes to get a well balanced image where all exposures are in harmonic relation to each other.

 
 

 
This example shows how single exposures merge into a triple exposure. Each line under the image (green, red, orange) symbolises one exposure and its visibility depending on the position of the slider.
 

Drag the slider to add the missing exposures.

 
 
 
 

What makes the difference?

Through a smart choice of combined motifs the image gets a dreamlike flair that makes it peculiarly original and unique. Day and night, water and sky, faces and landscapes: The combinations of what can be melted into one picture are endless. There are almost no limits to the imagination.

 

What makes the multiple exposure so exciting in particular is a certain unpredictability of how the exposures will fit together and how the result will look like in the end. Though it can be limited to a manageable degree by a conscientious implementation, it’s precisely this aspect of chance which contributes much to the vibrant, organic nature of the finished artwork.

 

The feeling of delight that comes when viewing the result for the first time is always a great reward. It compensates for all the efforts made and is still as overwhelming as in the early days.

 
 

Core equipment

The Canon EOS 5 (single lens reflex 35 mm camera) is used with a grid focusing screen to allow accurate positioning of the picture elements. In addition, manual focusing lenses (M42) of various focal lengths from Pentacon and Carl Zeiss Jena are combined with the extensive and highly variable Cokin filter system.

 

Usually the exposures are photographed on 35 mm color negative films (ISO 100), at times also black and white infrared films find their way into the camera.

The approach

Most ideas emerge from a strong feeling or a mood. Transferring this into a pictorial language as purely and authenticly as possible is often a lengthy and demanding process. During this, a visual concept arises which should both be close to the original feeling and realizable with available means.

 

The art concept is similar to an implementation plan which includes considerations like the chosen motifs, the resulting number of exposures, their weighting in relation to each other and the order they will be photographed in, the use of color and effect filters or the way bracketed series are combined. Further on it is noted which accessories are needed and possibly what kind of constructions have to be built in advance.

 

In many cases, a concept contains both studio and outdoor exposures. Each of the artworks is a new challenge because the realization of an individual concept is always approached from another direction. That is why the term »experiment« applies equally to upcoming projects as well as to the early work from 1999.

 

While an exposure is taken, the exposure settings, the use of filters, the exact position of a motif within the image area and more are noted. After an exposure for the whole film is finished the film is rewound and put back into the camera again for remaining exposures.

 

Patience becomes a virtue whenever a concept makes it necessary to wait for a certain moon phase, a cloudless sky, snowfall or even another season.

 

Once all exposures are photographed, the film is developed and afterwards digitized with a negative scanner. Before an artwork goes online, it is slightly enhanced. In this case digital image editing is strictly limited to things like gradation, colors and sharpening which are virtually inevitable for digitized negatives. It does not affect the montages.