The British Society of Underwater Photographers (BSoUP)
Inspiring and informing underwater photographers since 1967

© Images and articles on this website are the copyright of the photographers and authors.





About BSoUP : Code of Conduct : Competitions : Constitution : Contact us : Courses
Cover shots
: Directions : Glossary : HistoryMagazine : Meetings : Members websites
News Archive
: Privacy Policy : Programme : Site Index

BSoUP's Sponsors

Kungkungan Bay Resort

SS Thistlegorm

Winning Imaes by Paul Colley

Cameras Underwater - Sponsor of the BSoUP/DIVER Print Competition 2015 - 2018 and BIUPC 2015 and 2016

Brtish Divers Marine Life Rescue - Sponsors of BSoUP / DIVER Print Competition 2017

Carpe Diem, Sponsors of BUIPC 2017


Mike's No 1 Dive Cameras

O'Three - Sponsor of the BIUPC 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018

Underwater World Stony Cove

Diver Magazine - Sponsor of the Annual Beginners Portfolio Competition and the BSoUP/DIVER Print Competition

DiveQuest - Sponsor of the Underwater Excellence

Multiple exposures - art or trickery?

by Bill Bunting

Reproduced from in focus 38 (October 1990)

It was interesting to read in IN FOCUS the opinions on multiple exposures and their validity in competitions. The article coincided with an impromptu debate we had at Torbay BS-AC, which has a flourishing photographic section.

The general conclusions we arrived at were that double exposures were obviously an art form and are a means of producing very impressive pictures. In British and other waters of low visibility, the technique can be usefully employed to produce a picture which exists naturally but, because of the low visibility, cannot be captured in one shot - that is to say, the close focus, wide-angle type of shot.

The key to successful double or even triple exposures lies in the term 'naturally' -unless one is aiming for the contrived, humorous type of shot. If someone looks at your finished picture and says `that's a double exposure' then you have probably failed. If, on the other hand, they ask if it is a double exposure or do not mention double exposure at all then you have probably succeeded. The secret then is to ensure that the resulting overall picture depicts a scene that could occur naturally and to maintain perspective throughout - a six foot sardine next to a three inch diver is a bit of a giveaway!

So we were all pretty well in agreement that the multiple exposure technique is a very useful one, primarily to enable us to compose pictures that would otherwise be precluded by low visibility. When we came to discuss the eligibility of such shots in photographic competitions opinions, at first, seemed to be varied. Further debate united us in one conclusion. That some people had an unfair advantage because they had more equipment than others was rapidly discarded, after all it could be argued that a person with a flashgun has a distinct advantage over someone who has not! The sticky area is one of category.

A double exposure done 'in camera' is the work of the photographer and a successful shot shows a high degree of skill on his or her part - it is difficult enough to get a decent single exposure, let alone two in the same frame! But what about the double exposure produced in the darkroom, either by the photographer or a processing laboratory? As I said in the beginning, it is undoubtedly an art but whose art is it? Is it truly photography in the sense that the image was captured on film in a camera? I would venture to suggest that most of us have enough material to give it to a processor with the instructions to compose an award winning picture, but do we want our competitions to come to this?

Perhaps the only solution is to have a separate category for pictures that are composed in the darkroom, but how on earth would it be policed? How could the photographer who sweated over his picture in the darkroom be prevented from swearing that it was done in camera?

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional   Top of page