Image by Dan Mountford

Wander around London at the moment and you’re surrounded by a sea of washed out, double-exposed images.

If you’re an Opera lover, there’s an entire campaign of thorny-headed women.

Or perhaps you’re dreaming, just like our model below, of a trip to Canada. Those falls are SO on my bucket list…

The trouble is that, for me, all I can do is think back a few years to when there was another whole spate of wistfulness.

Morgan Stanley by the Martin Agency

There were some Morgan Stanley people, dreaming of their bonuses…

By Firedog

Whilst visitors to the Barbican were all shutting their eyes and thinking of concrete. Or how to get out. Or something.

Eurostar travellers were contemplating hopping on a train to Europe, to meet someone thinking of the same thing, perhaps?

By Fallon/Chris Brookes

And Royal Academy visitors were imagining architecture.

And, of course, we all sat down last year and soaked up True Detective, with its suitably enigmatic titles.

The question is, where did all this start?

Double exposures aren’t exactly new: photographers have been messing about with them for eons. Here’s a classic by Wanda Wulz from 1932.

And I always loved the double exposure below of Max Ernst by Frederick Sommer.

But applications into design were quite rare.

This great bit of work from CDT from decades ago would have involved a great deal of painstaking retouching on an early ‘Paintbox’, or something like that.

This time around we think that the revival of the technique is down to several things at once.

Firstly, the beautiful work of young British designer, Dan Mountford (image above and at the top of this post).

Secondly, the whole Lomography craze. By forgetting, or forgetting on purpose, to wind on the film, some great effects can be achieved, in camera.

Now, of course, you don’t need a camera. Yes, there’s an app…

…and another, from Rayban. Now you can really ‘make those selfies stand out’ (and look suitably wistful, at the same time).

And finally, lazy art directors rejoice, there’s even stock double exposures to be had, this time of suitably bearded hipsters. Looking serious and wistful, obviously. Dreaming of a shave? In the wood? Weird.

But now that stock libraries have picked up on the trend, and we can all do double-exposure selfies, is it finally over?

Don’t bet on it. The trouble with an idea like this is that it can have ‘legs’ for years, and years, and years….

 

 

By Michael Johnson
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