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"Les multiples visages du plaisir" - The many faces of pleasure (tirage argentique)

"Les multiples visages du plaisir" - The many faces of pleasure (tirage argentique)


Exposure Date: 2010:08:21 15:44:39;
Make: LEICA;
Model: D-LUX 3;
ExposureTime: 1/40 s;
FNumber: f/2.8;
ISOSpeedRatings: 200;
ExposureProgram: Normal program;
ExposureBiasValue: 0;
MeteringMode: CenterWeightedAverage;
Flash: Flash did not fire, compulsory flash mode;
FocalLength: 6.3 mm;
Software: Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.0 Macintosh;


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Sometimes the idea (simple pleasures in this case) is better communicated by more

than one image. I know barely half of the persons figuring in this one, but all seem to

be enjoying themselves. Thanks for viewing.

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Arthur, I like this one a lot.  The longer I look at it, the more I like it.

I find especially pleasing, the way the image is effectively divided into unequal quadrants (the intersection being the shoulder blades of the third-from-left walking figure), with high-key tonality in the upper-left and lower-right quadrants, and a much lower key in the lower-left and upper-right.

Against that four-part geometrical frame, the walking figures give an impression of "passing through" the picture's spatial divisions; and the "ethereal" high-key faces/smiles in the upper left seem to imbue the entire image with a spirit of enjoyment.  

Plus, the fact that the large faces are smiling toward the viewer (from a place "in the landscape"  that, at first glance, should lie beyond the much smaller walking figures, whose backs are to the viewer), adds interesting, subconsciously disorienting questions of perspective--which can only be satisfied by further consideration of the image.

In short, for me there's a lot going on in this picture, and it's all good.

How did you make the original print?  (Did you compose it from two separate negatives/slides, or make a calculated double-exposure in your camera, or was it just one of those happy accidents that sometime befall us?)

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Thank you for your comments. The image struck me as it does you - lots going on (different planes, the shoulders encompassing one slice, the guy with the fishing pole looking at the three beach walkers, his own costume overlain with some detail of a "background" image, possibly that of the two visible smiling young men in overcoats (young friends), the people swimming in the upper right (Tybee Island north beach, Georgia), the posture or gait of the walkers, the superimposed wiggly coat details on the lady walker's back). The tonality also seems to add to the separation of the two or three or more scenes within a scene .


The phrase "the image struck me" is humbling. I unintentionally double exposed a 36 exposure roll and then looked at the frames before finding only two that seemed to have some appeal. Pure luck. I wish that I could have imagined a similar scene to this, but I really only obtained it by accident. It has been a good learning experience, (1) because the negative was quite difficult to print and I had to hold back and add exposure to diferent parts of the image while printing, and (2), it has incited me to try both double exposure and sandwich negative printing (I guess one could do scanning of negative sandwiches or combining them in photoshop (more sophisticated perhaps) but I haven't tried that) and I have a small project that may need it. 

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Well Arthur, no reason to feel humbled.  Lots of good things have begun with a fortunate accident--penicillin, re-stickable post-it notes, other such milestones of history in addition to double-exposures.

I've had two or three accidental double-exposures of my own that that I like, though none that would top this one of yours, above.  (Years ago, and for many years, I had only one camera.  If, for example, it was already loaded with Kodachrome that had been exposed up to frame #16--yet the light seemed to call for Tri-X--I would rewind the Kodachrome up to its leader strip, then remove it from the camera and insert a roll of Tri-X.  Later, after I'd used and removed the Tri-X, I'd re-insert the partially-used Kodachrome cartridge and advance it (snapping the shutter at 1/1000 sec. at f16, with the lens-cap on) up to frame #18, giving myself a one-frame buffer; then I'd resume making new Kodachrome exposures.  That procedure worked well, except when I changed film hastily, and relied on memory (instead of making a written note) of how many exposures were already on the partially-used cartridge.  It was easy to mis-remember, so periodically I would end up with at least one or two double exposures on a roll.)

In addition to Photoshop and to sandwiching negatives in the darkroom, there's another approach to making a deliberate, well-controlled, overlapping "combined" image, which you may already know:  i.e., using one of the old "slide copier" attachments in front of a macro lens, on an SLR camera and bellows.  A long time ago I went through a "phase" of exploring the possibilities of this technique.  It's simple to make a well-exposed, well-composed final (combined) image in this manner.  Using slide film, you just overexpose the individual images that you intend to combine, reducing their density to about 50% of normal; later, when you "sandwich" two of them in the slide-copier attachment, their combined density will be about 100% of normal.  (Using negative film, of course, you would underexpose the individual images to achieve the same reduced-density for combining.  But I never did this with negative film.) After lab processing, you lay the two overexposed slides, unmounted, one-on-top-of-the-other on an open paper slide frame.  After positioning the images to your liking, you close the slide-frame and use a bit of glue or tape to hold it temporarily shut.  (After examining the combined image at great magnification through the SLR's viewfinder, you can remove the slide and adjust the overlap to fine-tune the image.)  When you re-photograph them, using a small lens aperture and careful focus (and fine-grain film) the two combined images will "merge" into one.

I'm sure that in Photoshop there must be ways to achieve digitally the same sequence of steps.

Anyway, I think you did a great job in the darkroom with this.  It's excellent.    







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Ernest, sorry to be late in getting back. I like your slide copier idea with the double transparencies (or negatives), and the fact that one can change the overlap positions to taste. If I get up to speed on PS I will try that as well with different images, but I like the chance element and real time of in camera double exposure (I got myself an old TLR that has that capability).


Thanks for your comment about the ability of the image to incite second looks. That doesn't happen often to my work, so I appreciate what you say.   

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I see layers of reality superimposed on one another to make an extraordinary scene. Congratulations for envisioning and capturing this exquisite image.

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