A bit of background info on my book’s cover image

November 8, 2009

The black and white photograph on the cover of my book, The Watcher (Poems), was taken by me in 1998. I was studying photography at the Speos Institute in Paris, France. The photo features a blind double exposure technique that I was exploring. I had actually learned this technique at Maine South High School in Park Ridge, IL from Mr. Terrance Bragiel, the photo class teacher.

The technique consists of using 400 Asa film in a 35 mm camera and setting the camera to 200 Asa and taking the same roll of pictures twice. (Forgive me, but my memory is a little wavery about whether it’s 200 ASA film & you set camera to 400, or the other way around.) The first time through you take an entire roll of pictures as usual. You may choose to focus the first run through only on interesting patterns or backround scenery, or whatever you wish. If you prefer a very planned approach, write down a description of each shot after you take it, otherwise let them remain random. When you reach the end of the roll, rewind it back to the beginning, being careful to stop before the film slips off the spool. If it accidentally does, you’ll have to reload in absolute darkness. Now, take the roll all the way through again, this time focusing on foreground kinds of shots, or letting them remain totally random as you wish.

After you develop the film you’ll have a dense roll of double exposed images. The frames may not even be lined up perfectly, and some of the juxtapositions might be uninteresting. But I found the chance element very magical with this technique. I did not try to particularly wind back to the exact start, nor did I write down what shots I took. I wound up with some interesting layers; an old graveyard on top of a church playground; sparkling waves over a face deep in thought; the entrance to a pub over the exit from the Metro tunnel. The winning cover image of a mysterious hooded girl (an unidentified Speos classmate) superimposed over voûtes sur croisée d’ogives of a cathedral ceiling (Montmartre, I’m fairly certain) represents the quality of atmosphere contained in the poems within my book; femininity, loneliness & mystery, intersecting paths, juxtapositions and contrast…

I hope it draws potential readers into wanting to pick up the book!

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