Even Henri Cartier Bresson found that he felt stymied by the confines of the still photograph at one time in his career. That frustration marked his foray in moving pictures for a stint. Invariably, Cartier Bresson went back to taking still images but his desire to capture more than an instant is continuously being repeated in the experiences of subsequent photographers. For this year’s W. Eugene Smith grant, finalist Justin Maxon presented a collection of photographs, When The Spirit Moves, that employ double exposures. It is fitting that W. Eugene Smith, commonly regarded as the father of the photo essay, championed image series with a strong belief in photography as a cumulative medium. In When the Spirit Moves not only are we moving through the sequence of the series with each successive observation but the storyline splinters into new trajectories altogether when we arrive at these double exposures. True to life, it is fragmented and chaotic.
Maxon says “I experiment with multiple exposures because it gives me the vocabulary to speak in a more complex language. Moments in life are not isolated from each other. The past, present and future are all intertwined. The inherent nature of still images are to extract a moment from its dimension in time. Leaving it flat and without much volume or context. Multiple exposures help me build moments that articulate more truthfully the complexities of time.”