This is a double exposure that I found in my Cleage photos. It was probably taken by my grandfather since my father was only about 8 or 9 years old. It is in the batch with other photographs taken in Athens, Tennessee around 1919. There seem to be sheets on a clothesline in the foreground. Athens is in the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains and was my Grandfather Albert B. Cleage Sr’s hometown. He took his family back for a visit most summers when they were growing up.
There are links to other photos from trips to Athens below.
- Summer Visit to Athens, Tennessee
- Couple on a Bridge
- Photos, Photos, Everywhere
- Not a Bridge, A Ferry
22 thoughts on “Athens, Tennessee, about 1919”
A beautiful effect from the double exposure. Do you think the photographer intended to do it….or was it a happy accident.
I think it was an unintended, happy accident. But I don’t know what’s involved in doing a double exposure on purpose. I haven’t seen any experimental photography by my grandfather though.
Back in 1919, and for a good few years after, it was very easy to make a double exposure, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Unlike as was the case with the instamatic camera from the 1960s and later, if you forgot to wind the film on until the next number appeared in the window at the back of the camera, there was nothing to stop you from taking another shot over the top of the last. The instruction booklets usually recommended that you make a standard practice of winding on to the next frame immediately after taking a shot. Then you would always be ready for the next shot.
Great shot, by the way. I suspect that it was a far more common event than we realize, but since most of the doubly exposed prints were thrown away, we don’t see them unless we have the original negatives. Shots such as this one, which turned out quite nice anyway, may have been kept even if they were uninentional.
That sounds like what must have happened. And the shot was so interesting, they kept it.
I rather like that. It has a somewhat ghostly appearance – as you’d expect from a double exposure, especially in sepia. We have a few in our own collection, for exactly the reasons Brett has given, but they’re too precious to get rid of because of the subject matter.
There is a wonderous serendipity about such shots, the double exposure gives it a lovely haunted feel.
It does give it a silent, muffled kind of look. If a look can be silent and muffled.
I’ve done a few double exposures in my time and they are always good fun to look back on…..
I don’t think I’ve ever used a camera that did them.
It’s very artistic, whether or not intentional.
It’s funny maybe, but I like how it came out. Surely they did too, thankfully or we may never have seen it today!
I wish it were still possible to make double exposures intentionally in the camera.
There must be a way to make fake ones. But it just wouldn’t be the same, would it?
That image is magical, the prosaic and grand inextricable. A fine metaphor.
Krisin, I also have Tennessee roots, so your photo waas “doubly” welcome. Tis very interesting, you know. Thanks.
They seem to have enough laundry to wash without wishing for double.
This reminds me of something that my grandmother told me. When they were kids, they always had certain days for certain tasks. Somewhere I have it written down. I remember that Friday was town day (going to town, meeting up with friends and doing the shopping).
There was a washing day, baking day, bathing day. Something every day except for Sunday, which was Church, relaxation and the children had to be quiet “no rowdy games”
A fine old double exposure.
Double exposures are sometimes quite arty and always interesting. I have found quite a number of them. I even started a separate category for them.
It’s a wonderful shot, full of mystery. Would make a great image for a book jacket.
The double exposure does confer a special quality to this picture.
Should double exposure become a new trend?
I know I see some work on Flickr involving such process,
intentionally, and I like it, in some cases…
I would not have known it was a double exposure if you hadn’t told me so. Anyway it is a great effect.
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