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double exposure

Lizzi Roush , May 05, 2008; 10:20 a.m.

can someone explain in siple erm to me how to do a double exposure when printing?


Randall Ellis , May 05, 2008; 12:05 p.m.

You simply expose two negatives onto the same piece of paper one after the other. In many cases part of each exposure will be masked off (beware of hard edges though) to create a montage of images. Imogen Cunningham did this quite a lot for a time if you would like to see examples. This was also regularly done before panchromatic emulsions were developed (ouch!) - due to the color of the sky and the color sensitivity range the sky is devoid of detail with orthochromatic emulsions, so during printing a second negative exposure of just the sky would be printed down onto the paper after the first negative was printed so that the resulting print would have clouds or a moon for example in the sky.

- Randy

Randall Ellis , May 05, 2008; 12:16 p.m.

Correction, in retrospect, I now recall that Imogen actually printed two negatives at the same time, so my post above was not completely accurate.

Still, in order to make a 'double exposure' print you simply mask off part of the light projected from the first negative by holding a cutout piece of paper between the lens and the print on the easel. Cut this 'mask' so that the part of the first negative that you wish to leave open (blank) for use with the second negative is blocked from the enlarger light when the mask is held about half way between lens and print. Then when you make your first exposure hold the paper under the lens and move it up and down or side to side a little bit so as to avoid a sharp edge line. For the second exposure, use the part of the masking paper that you set aside when you made the mask for the first negative to expose the remaining part of the paper to the second negative, also moving it slightly to prevent hard lines on the print. This will hide the area of the print the first exposure made from further light and expose the part that was masked off from the first negative.

It takes a bit of practice to get good at it, but it can be done easily if you take a little time to learn.

- Randy

Jim Graves , May 05, 2008; 12:16 p.m.

If you have access to two enlargers, some people find it easier to use two ... helps with the setup and simplifies placement of the easel correctly for each negative.

Another way of combining negatives ... although not technically a "double exposure" ... is to simply put two or more negatives in the same negative carrier at the same time ... sometimes called a "sandwich."

Tim Kohlman , May 05, 2008; 08:53 p.m.

it helps if your enlarger has a safe light filter so you can recompose the second negative

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