Compressing time and space

A very personal view times two

At a press conference a few weeks ago, I shot a few double exposures with my X-Pro3 and XF50mm f2 lens, which I published here. Since then, I have explored this technique more fully and come to appreciate the combination of two moments in one image as another means of telling a story. Particularly at the press conferences, where there are few people in the theatre and most are far apart, the compression of space and time in one frame adds layers of information and juxtaposes the actors on stage with those of us who are normally behind the scenes.

After my initial exploration, I switched back to my work X-T3 fronted with the XF50-140mm lens. The X-T3 has fewer options for multiple exposures than the X-Pro3, so I have worked with those limitations as I combine different moments and people into one black-and-white JPEG. Using the long telephoto lens provides increased options for framing and composition over a prime lens. The ability to shoot tight and to pull back lets me play with scale as well. The theatrical lighting is a bonus for making these images, giving me plenty of contrast to work with. The placement of dark and light areas of the combined images is critical to the success of each picture.

This has been a strictly personal exploration, with exactly none of these images used by government. They get the very professional images that I am expected to deliver. Every time. Yet, I find these images compelling to make and interesting to contemplate after the fact.

As the moments that I have combined may be as much as a few minutes apart and the relative scale and position of the subjects is heavily altered by my position and focal length choice, these images are not about documenting the moment. Rather they are a combination of my experience of the event with how I want the subjects to relate to each other or even themselves. These images tell a different story that isn’t obvious, but did in fact happen, if only in the compressed time and space of my frames.

A few example double exposures follow.


NB: As noted above, all images captured in camera with the Fujifilm X-T3, fronted by the XF50-140mm f2.8 lens. Film simulation set to Acros, yellow filter. Heavy use of exposure compensation, while shooting, combined with minor adjustments in post, result in what you see here. No use of Photoshop at any time.

2 responses to “Compressing time and space”

  1. These are wonderful photographs, and they do exactly what you said, they compress time and space creating a dynamic scene, life film.

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