Photography and Growth

A double exposure of my wife Whitney.

Photography is a perishable skill.  That means that given time if you don't keep practicing and applying the skills you develop, they'll inevitably fade away.  But here's the problem: most people (myself included) are pretty lazy. While certainly some of us can maintain consistency and practice, they rarely step outside of their comfort zones.  We fall into creative ruts, and put out much of the same stuff over and over, falling back onto the handful of tricks we know getting better and better at being the same.  Some people deny it, call it their, "signature style," or something to that effect, but in the end they rarely step outside the box.

Here's the thing though: Photography is a field of unending possibility, and there's always something new to learn and apply.  It helps us as photographers to push into new areas creatively and see what our style can bring to it.  Perhaps you're finding your signature style is getting a little bored to your audience, the same old style of filters, vignettes, saturation, and tone curves, etc.  Well maybe you should challenge yourself to learn or adapt a new technique.

This past weekend I spent a few days with my wife and some friends at their cottage north of Belleville, and I decided I'd take a shot at an old photography technique that I'd never really experimented with: Double Exposures.  A double exposure involves exposing a camera's film or sensor two times instead of one.  So instead of having a single image, you effectively have two overlaid in one space.  What does it look like?  Take a look at this image:  I took a profile shot of my wife, and another shot of some leaves and the sky:

 
 

See how you can see both the leaves and her face?  It's an interesting style that can be applied with many creative twists.  Think about what could be used as a texture in place of the leaves, I could have taken shots of the waves on the lake, the wood on the side of the cottage, or even the wood chips and dirt on the road.  While I only practiced the technique for 5-10 minutes in an Adirondack chair, the idea worked pretty well, and it's a technique I plan on developing and hopefully creating another signature style with.  The trick however is to keep on trying new things, to step outside of your norms, to fail, learn, and grow.

Try it!  Get out, play with something, anything!  If you're looking for an idea I'd say start with things like Black and White photography, or HDR (High Dynamic Range) imagery, or double exposures.  Those are just a few, but anything's better than nothing.  Feel free to comment and share your results!

 
Signature block.
 

-Wes.

Here are a few more images from my time in the chair by the lake: