All images by Brandon Kidwell. Used with permission.
When you look at the images that Brandon Kidwell creates, you can easily tell that there is a very human element behind them. That’s not only because of the fact that he photographs humans, but he also tries to tell stories in layer and with emotions. For Brandon, the best way to do this is with Double Exposures–as is apparent from his Behance profile.
Brandon’s Wisdom for My Children was featured on the Phoblographer before and he’s also in the site’s list of very inspiration double exposure photographers, but what you also probably aren’t aware of is how Brandon manages to blend the technical, emotional, and artistic sides of all these elements together to create what are truly humanistic masterpieces.
Phoblographer: We know that you like the dynamic story telling abilities that double exposures allow you to have, and you’ve surely used that to good measure. So how do you go about creating concepts and figuring out how you want those concepts to be conveyed in the images you create; especially since you tend to let inspiration just come to you?
Brandon: I think inspiration can come in various forms for me. I might have a person that I admire and have some story or emotion I want to portray and develop the story through them. A landscape might have this same effect but it is more about a shared experience and documenting the place and emotions we felt while there. Other than that I might have an idea or concept and have to work it out in my head. Then I do some mental Rolodex model-casting and coax a family member or friend into being my subject then schedule time to work it out and shoot it.
Phoblographer: One of the toughest parts of creating effective double exposures is having good ideas. Besides Wisdom for my Children, have you noticed any patterns in how ideas come to you?
Brandon: I don’t think there are any real patterns outside of subject matter. Wisdom of my Children was based upon real experiences over a year or a year and a half. I didn’t realize I was creating a series until I looked back over the course of the year and found similar style images with similar subject matter. I think simply knowing that pattern now has made it different. Now I try not to overuse the double exposures. I love them and I think I just know when the time and the subject matter is right. It is usually a perfect storm of lighting, context, subject and time. You definitely need time to realize what is presenting itself and to consciously compose the image properly especially if you’re doing it in camera. Those are magical moments when it all comes together organically.
Phoblographer: One of the biggest things that every creative sometimes faces when trying to do lots of personal work is actually getting it done. But how do you stay motivated, on target, and focused to be able to do this type of work?
Brandon: I haven’t had much time for personal work this past year unfortunately but I think that is actually beneficial because when I’m not shooting personal work I’m honing my craft in other areas and all the time open to ideas. Once I get time to dedicate I feel I have the wealth of ideas, almost a to-do list. I am always open to ideas and write them down, draw them out or even e-mail them to myself at times so that I don’t lose what it is I thought or felt. Later I have this crazy scattered mess of ideas I can go back to when I have time and I can either carry them out or build upon them and keep creatively productive.
Phoblographer: What do you think is the most difficult part of creating good double exposures to you personally?
Brandon: I think it’s the same as any good photography, portraying an emotion and relaying that to the viewer through the image. The emotion or story has to be consistent and be complimented within the exposures to support one another and promote the message. If they compete with one another or are flat or emotionless you might end up with an interesting composition but one void of emotion.