Category Archives: Multiple Exposures

White Daemon Series

The idea of this series of photos, created in collaboration with the model A Nude Muse, was to create images that were simultaneously attractive, eerie, uncanny, and otherworldly.  Ignoring the Picasso-like displacement of body parts, the figure portrayed was to have one foot in this world, and one foot in another world—or perhaps some realm that is the realm of unearthly beings. Who knows what she can see of the future, or whether she is good or evil, or what the future brings. 

White Daemon III © Harold Davis

White Daemon II © Harold Davis

White Daemon 1 © Harold Davis

White Daemon IV © Harold Davis

The technique I employed was to use a series of 8-10 in-camera multiple exposures using strobe lighting for each exposure. The camera did the combination of the imagery. For several reasons, one of which is that one can see instant results in the camera, this works better for this kind of image than photographing individual exposures, and later combining them in Photoshop. We used a white lace nightgown and a white lace scarf to add the dominant “spirit walker” theme to the model; her impact and affect in these images varies from Madonna to Bride to Succubus to Cassandra to a visitation from Death.

Model credit: A Nude Muse. Related images: See my Multiple Exposures series. If you get the chance, please let me know what you think by adding a comment, or via email.

Also posted in Models, Photography

Vitruvian Woman

Vitruvian Woman © Harold Davis

I titled this piece Vitruvian Woman, after the famous Leonardo da Vinci drawing of an ideal man. The model is Muirina Fae; click here for her IG stream, this model is also shown in Devotional Pose and Avatar.

You can see more of my Multiple Exposure series, made, as was Vitruvian Woman using in-camera multiple strobe exposures, by clicking here.

Also posted in Models

Devotional Pose

Devotional Pose © Harold Davis

Click here for a related image, and here for more in my Multiple Exposure series.

Model: Muirina Fae

Also posted in Models, Monochrome

Avatar or Artifact?

I made this image in collaboration with the beautiful model Muirina Fae. It’s an in-camera multiple exposure. There are some more details about how I made the image below. If you are interested in seeing more images like this one, you can click here to see more from my Multiple Exposures series.

Avatar © Harold Davis

It’s interesting to me that you can see different subject matter when the image is thumbnail sized, perhaps something organic, like a vegetable, rather than the actual, human form of the model.

Perhaps you see this too?

The model and I collaborated to make six choreographed exposures on a black background. Each exposure was lit by a single strobe from right and above. The camera was on a tripod to keep its position constant.

The model stood mostly on her right leg, and raised her left leg. Following some experimentation, we put her right leg in a black stocking, so that it blended into the black background, and makes her appear to be off the ground for the entirety of the exposures.

The six RAW exposures were combined in my camera using the Nikon D850’s multiple exposure menu. Following retouching and adjustments in Photoshop, I converted the image to monochromatic, then applied sepia and antiquing effects using Photoshop and plugins.

Also posted in Models, Photography

Chorus of One

I worked with model Jin N Tonic to create a number of images in my Multiple Exposures series. In Chorus of One, I think Jin did a great job of positioning and placement (as well as having enthusiasm, and looking a bit like Marilyn). Jin’s ability to precisely place her body helped to create a sense of pattern across the eight times the strobes fired (each one being an exposure that was combined in-camera using its multiple exposure capability).

Chorus of One © Harold Davis

My Multiple Exposure images use choreographed, in-camera multiple exposures to create an almost stop-motion effect. I like what one can do with this approach, because it combines a technique as old as photography (in-camera multiple exposures) with the full power of modern digital technology. Why, I remember when…to make a multiple exposure on my old Nikon FM-2 you had to press a little button next to the wind lever, to fool the camera into thinking you had actually advanced the film to a new frame. Very mechanical, and yes it was possible to foul it up. Today, it is just a menu item.

Boys and girls, if you try this at home, remember to leave Autogain set to On; this is what balances the separate exposures together instead of letting brighter exposures prevail.

Also posted in Photography

Introducing Multiple Exposures

Phyllis and I are working on an artist’s book—really a booklet—based on my Multiple Exposures body of work. The title, Multiple Exposures, is a play on the technique used, and the fact that the models in the images are exposed (so if female nudity offends you, this work is not for you).

The style of this artist’s book is what we’ve come to call a “pocket” portfolio. It is printed and hand-bound here in my studio, with the intended use of showcasing my images (with some our our pocket portfolios, Moab Paper has also used them at trade shows to demonstrate various paper stocks).

While Multiple Exposures will not be for sale, constructing it is labor intensive and copies are obviously limited. I truly believe that each copy will be regarded as a valuable collectible in times to come. If you are an art gallery interested in this work, or a collector interested in a print, I am happy to arrange for a personal showing.

Wheel of Life © Harold Davis

Here’s the introduction I wrote for the Multiple Exposures artist’s book:

As a technique, the in-camera multiple exposure has its roots in the film era, with notable examples including the surrealistic imagery of Man Ray and others. The digital era has to a great extent eclipsed the use of the multiple exposure, but this forgotten and important element of our photographic heritage can be used to make images that are difficult—or impossible—to create in post-production alone.

Working with a model, the process is both choreographic and collaborative. The model and I agree on the shape that is to be created using the individual components of the multiple exposure, and establish marks. The model then takes each position in turn, and with a great deal of bidirectional communication I fire the strobes and camera on a dark background.

Some of my original thinking when I began this work was to reference relevant historical art using the medium of the in-camera multiple exposure, hence Rodin, Picasso, and Marcel Duchamp. But as I went along I became more interested in creating entirely new elements of the life force. In some sessions this was romantic and sexual, in others the insect kingdom intruded.

Finally, as in all things philosophic, the religious made its appearance—with the bizarre sensual sadism that is part-and-parcel of Western ideology, followed by references to an as-yet-unnamed theology that owes something to Hinduism, and something to the hope that each of us can recognize the light within each other.

Gates after Rodin © Harold Davis

Related story: You can read more about my Gates after Rodin image in A Rorschach for MFAs, and how I began doing these images here. For more stories and images, check out the Multiple Exposures category on this blog.

Also posted in Models, Writing

New Multiple Exposures with Katje

I have some new images in my Multple Exposures series, photographed in collaboration with the beautiful and intelligent model Katje Gee.

About Face © Harold Davis

About Face © Harold Davis

Manifestation © Harold Davis

Manifestation © Harold Davis

Fedora © Harold Davis

Fedora © Harold Davis

I Am That Insect © Harold Davis

I Am That Insect © Harold Davis

Also posted in Models, Photography

Metamorphosis

This is a single in-camera multiple exposure, photographed at a variety of focal lengths. The model is Sera Ferron, who you can also see in Three Poses and a Two-Fer and Fight Off Your Demons.

Metamorphosis © Harold Davis

Metamorphosis © Harold Davis

Related image (and technique): Obeisance.

Also posted in Models, Photography

Three Poses and a Two-Fer

Contemplation © Harold Davis

Contemplation © Harold Davis

I had fun photographing a model from Los Angeles the other day. Mostly we did multiple exposures, but I also did some single poses. The single poses are shown above, and the first two below. The bottom image is an in-camera double exposure, with the same model appearing twice. I converted all images to black and white to keep the visual impact of these images simple. The model is Sera Ferron.

Wonder Why © Harold Davis

Wonder Why © Harold Davis

Figure Study Jumping © Harold Davis

Figure Study Jumping © Harold Davis

Me & Me © Harold Davis

Me & Me © Harold Davis

Also posted in Models, Monochrome, Photography

Fight Off Your Demons

This is an in-camera multiple exposure with six individual exposures with my camera set to Autogain. I varied the focal length between exposures to capture the model and her lace outfit in a variety of poses. Each shot was lit using studio strobes modified with a grid, and on one side a large soft box. The background was black seamless paper. I processed the image minimally in Photoshop, and added a texture from Flypaper for the final effect. Click here to check out some of my other multiple exposures of models.

Fight Off Your Demons © Harold Davis

Fight Off Your Demons © Harold Davis

Also posted in Models, Photography

Metamorphosis

A metamorphosis is a transformation. In this image, a model, also shown in Nude Descending a Ladder, is transforming into a portion of Multnomah Falls (or vice versa, the waterfall is transforming into the model). More abstractly, there is a larger view in which the waterfall is itself becoming a figure—vengeful Goddess or otherwise!

Metamorphosis © Harold Davis

Metamorphosis © Harold Davis

The two images I combined to make Metamorphosis are Waterfall (below) and Shout to the Soul (far below). Waterfall is a fairly straight photo of a portion of the upper Multnomah waterfall, while Shout to the Soul has been manipulated and transformed to fit together with the falling water.

Waterfall © Harold Davis

Waterfall © Harold Davis

Shout to the Soul © Harold Davis

Shout to the Soul © Harold Davis

 

Also posted in Models, Monochrome, Photography

Nude Descending a Ladder after Duchamp

The artist Marcel Duchamp created a furor in 1912 with his painting Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2. This painting, which was rejected at the time as too avant-garde even by the Cubist movement, is an abstraction of the motion of a nude female figure coming down a staircase. In time, the Duchamp painting would come to be regarded as one of the key modernist classics.

Nude Descending a Ladder after Duchamp © Harold Davis

Nude Descending a Ladder after Duchamp © Harold Davis

My homage to the Duchamp painting is an abstraction of a nude descending a ladder. Les Desmoiselles and Gates after Rodin are two other images of mine where I’ve used comparable techniques, in part with visual references to famous art works in mind.

To make Nude Descending a Ladder I started with a series of in-camera multiple exposures, using studio strobes and a black background. Each multiple exposure had eight or nine images. I used my camera’s auto-gain setting to make sure that each multiple exposure was properly balanced across the range of individual exposures that were combined in the camera.

In post-production, I combined the best two of these images, one for the upper part of the ladder, and one for the lower part. I then worked to add a painterly effect to the image, using LAB color in Photoshop, Nik Color Efex, and the Topaz Adjust, Glow, Impression, and Simplify plugins. Finally, I added a textured background with light brush strokes to the image.

Duchamp was making a point with his Nude Descending a Staircase—that once you break the bonds of reality there really are no limits, and there is no call for the art-world’s political correctness police to say that one abstraction rather than another is too untethered from reality.

Besides the visual reference to the Duchamp painting, I am making a somewhat analogous point in my  Nude Descending a Ladder. I’ve been criticized by establishment figures in the photography world because my images and prints “don’t look anything like photographs”—by which is meant the chemistry-based photography of the twentieth century. In other words, supposedly my images are not art-world politically correct photography.

Historically, going back to the birth of photography, photography was thought to depict “reality”, and the fact that photography was (erroneously) seen as creating an accurate rendition of the world is a large part of what freed painting from its orthodoxy. Painters no longer felt their purpose was to fulfill the role of showing “what was really there”. I use quotes around “what was really there” because as modern discourse has made clear this is not possible in any useful sense, and many paintings more served the role of hagiography, that is to say, were intended to embellish the reputations of the patrons that paid for them, rather than any accurate function of rendition (this, of course, remains the purpose of much portraiture to this day).

Freeing artists from the recitative need to show reality led to impressionism and later, more abstract, movements. The new role of art was first about seeing the world abstractly, and then more recently about ideas.

The consensus view that (in its turn) photography is an art form, and not something that slavishly reproduces “what is there” didn’t gain general acceptance until the closing years of the twentieth century, and then only as a new technology and art form—digital photography—was already on the horizon.

The new orthodoxy, and the one expressed by the statement that my images “aren’t really photography” is that a photo should be something coming out of the camera, without undue manipulation in post-production, and that these images should look like the photos of the past.

However, we do not know what the photos of the future will look like, but one thing is certainly true—they will be different and have evolved from the art form as it is now, and has been. So trying to copy the vision of the past without incorporating the gifts of technique from technology in the present is an exercise in futility, and one that is doomed to the dustbin of history.

Digital techniques have freed us from the orthodoxy of the camera, just as in the past the camera freed painters from the orthodoxies of representational art. But once you go down the road of a new art from, in which digital manipulation joins with digital capture, there are no limits. In a world loose from its moorings, there should be no rules about how images are created, and what art forms a digital photo or digital image can look like—only the appeal and interest of the final images.

Click here to check out my Multiple Exposure series of images!

 

Also posted in Models, Photography, Writing

Human Spiral—Nautilus

This nine-image multiple exposure, combined in-camera another image in the same series, Rondo, reminds me of a living organism, or spiral shell such as the Nautilus.

Nautilus © Harold Davis

Nautilus © Harold Davis

Also posted in Models, Monochrome, Photography

Rondo

Rondo © Harold Davis

Rondo © Harold Davis

About the image: This is an in-camera multiple exposure. The ten exposures were combined in the camera using auto-gain. The model was Amelia Simone, who was wearing the red underwear you can see in the image.

I was standing at the top of a ladder, and photographed hand-held down on the model, who moved around a black cloth on the floor, and synchronized her movements with the individual exposures. I used a Nikon D810 and a 28-300mm lens at 45mm. Each of the ten sub-exposures were shot at 1/160 of a second, at f/14 and ISO 400. Each exposure was lit using two studio strobes, one on each side, modified to soften the light.

Also posted in Models, Photography

Many Hands Make Light Work

Finger and Hand Study 1 © Harold Davis

Finger and Hand Study 1 © Harold Davis

Finger and Hand Study 2 © Harold Davis

Finger and Hand Study 2 © Harold Davis

Also posted in Models, Photography