Photographer Marcus Yam used an old trick in the book, but with some rather remarkable results. He shot some wonderfully composed triple exposure photographs created totally in-camera for a Seattle Times essay. The piece chronicles the growth of the city, showing its transformation “from a pioneer settlement into the largest metropolitan area in the Pacific Northwest.” Motivated to do things differently, Yam merged three images into a photo minus any Photoshop manipulation. Those more technically inclined might be scratching their heads now, and are asking ‘how?’
For starters, this concept took a lot of planning, mapping out, study, and research, and needed technical issues to be resolved. For Yam to have all of his elements in one frame, he had to carefully underexpose every shot to ensure the details in the images would not be lost. His results show the complexity of the elements perfectly blending together into a seamless composition. Yam elaborated on the process involved recently.
“In order to complete some of these images, I went on a citywide search. I learnt how light falls in Seattle, became the ultimate tourist and used all the history books I’d devoured as my guide. Sometimes I was looking for a metaphor, sometimes a precise moment. Other times, it was just a simple object that carried symbolism. I spent close to 400 hours working on this project. Ultimately, three things were necessary: a lot of patience, a pair of comfortable shoes and a light meter.”
What yam achieved was a series that almost seems animated. They are pictures of multiple dimensions that as you to sit down with them interact with you. Multi-layered with activity, themes and images, you are immediately engaged by the triple exposure magic he effectively uses for the photo essay.
See Yam’s work showing the growth of Seattle here.