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A few questions with Euan Grimley

A few questions with Euan Grimley

 

Your recent photography work features multiple exposures shot on film,
alongside more traditional portraiture. How long have you been experimenting with multiple exposures?

I’ve been properly experimenting with multiple exposures for a bit less than a year. It’s hard to pinpoint my first ever double exposure but there were a few half-hearted attempts some time last year that I didn’t think much of.

I actually started taking it seriously when you guys (take it easy) posted a few of my double exposures on your page with some kind words. That was the first time that anyone (beyond my close friends) had ever really complimented the double exposures and I think that post alone got me like a good 100 followers or something (I remember being really stoked because I think that post put me over 500 followers). That was only 9 months ago and that was the point at which I actually decided to take the double exposures a bit more seriously.

From there I’ve just been experimenting with them, I’ve learnt a lot about double
exposures and how film works in general, but I still definitely feel like I’m learning - and the more you learn the more you realise you don’t know! I guess at some point I will try and consolidate a more distinct style but I’m just trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t at the moment.

 

How do you come up with your compositions? Do you plan what to shoot
ahead of time or vibe it on the day?

It’s very much a mixture of planning and also just shooting what I stumble across. I usually have a few ideas floating around in my head that I want to try out. Often a weird anomaly in one shot gives you a whole new idea for another composition, but the idea might depend on being in the right location or the lighting being right, so sometimes I will have ideas for compositions in my head for months before I ever actually get the chance to try it out.

I also take my camera pretty much everywhere I go, so when I come across a nice scene or if there is nice light I will usually try and make something out of it.

Do you have a dedicated multiple exposure setting on your camera or do you use a particular technique? 

I use the double exposure lever on my camera, so I can shoot as many exposures over the same section of film as I want. Some people shoot a whole roll then rewind and shoot it again, which I’ve considered doing but the compositions I want are normally a bit too specific to do it that way.

What is your favourite subject to photograph?

Well people are definitely what I enjoy photographing the most – my friends, family, girlfriend etc. To be honest the main reason I started shooting double exposures was because I wasn’t able to see my friends during lockdown. I was wandering around the same neighbourhood day after day which became really boring photography- wise, so double exposures were just a way to keep photography interesting.

I like that with double exposures I get to combine landscape/nature/street
photography with portraiture. Recently I’ve been experimenting with more geometric, man-made shapes and shooting 3 or 4 exposures rather than 2. The images are way more abstract and it can be hard to make sure the final picture is still striking; it can often get a bit cluttered, but the results can look really interesting when it works out. Adding more exposures is also harder because you need to keep a mental image of how all the exposures layer up, so my success rate is definitely lower when I use more exposures!

What would be your dream subject or location to photograph?

I went on a holiday to a cottage in Scotland with my girlfriend, twin brother, his
girlfriend and our mum and that was pretty much ideal. There were amazing
landscapes, great wildlife and friends/family who were willing models (for the most part). That was pretty much a perfect combo.

With double exposures, or at least the ones I take, I’ve found that luckily it doesn’t really matter that much where you are. All my most successful photos have been taken either in my back garden or on/around my street where the scenery is actually really unremarkable. As long as there is nice light you can generally find something to make a good image out of.

Do you have any favourite photographers?

I’m honestly very unknowledgeable/un-cultured when it comes to the photography world. Before last year I don’t think I really followed any photographers on Instagram and I’ve never studied or had any real interest in photography before this year so in terms of professional or well-known photographers, I don’t really know any.

Since becoming part of the Instagram film photography community though, I’ve been introduced to so many good photographers who are very inspiring. I can’t even really begin to mention them here because there are too many to list. I can say that my friend David (@giesashot) is one of the first people whose photos I looked at and thought ‘damn I would like to take pictures like that.’ (David, this is your sign to start posting more photos on Instagram. I also think that @damn.thatsnicelight is constantly producing amazing images, I think he has such a good eye for this kind of ‘object portraiture’ I would call it – where he gives inanimate objects and scenes a kind of personality or character by the way he photos them.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to experiment with multiple exposures?

I think there is a lot of specific technical advice that it’s possible to give depending on what kind of result you want, which makes it hard to give general advice that will be applicable for all multiple exposures. What I can definitely say though is that you should try not to worry too much about the technical aspect of it at first.

You will undoubtedly make mistakes when starting out but if you focus on pairing good images you will find that even when the technical side doesn’t work out as you planned, you will produce nice images anyway.
You could perfect the technical side of it completely and still produce rubbish images because in the end of the day, two bad images layered will make a bad final image even if you’ve totally nailed the exposure and technical aspects of it. So, focus on layering nice images and the technical side will start becoming apparent to you as you get more negatives back. That’s another thing I would really recommend – looking at you’re negative. It helps you understand what’s actually happening in the camera/on the film.

Also, if anyone is struggling with the technical side of it or wants to know what has gone wrong with a particular image, feel free to DM me on insta with the image and I can hopefully let you know what might not have worked. And I always love seeing people’s photos, especially double exposures!

See more of Eugene's work here

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