Double Exposure: Cyclists of Toronto (2017)


Áine Belton – Double Exposure: Cyclists of Toronto

At the end of 2016, I received amazing news that I was selected a micro-grant from Art Starts to further along my research into double exposure photography. How is a “double exposure” created? Double or multiple exposure photography is a method used to expose a frame of film twice (or even three times) to combine two separate images onto just one strip of film. My proposal was to create a book of portraits using this method of photography in the Ward 30 area of Toronto.

About the book:

This photography book features 35mm film double exposure portraits of 16 cyclists and their favourite places to cycle in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area.

All of these cyclists responded to a call for participants for my project via social media, email and word of mouth. We met and we chatted passionately about cycling and the meaning of memory and space. Our engagements resulted in a series of unique
double exposure portraits (photographed at bikeSauce) with their chosen location layered on top of the re-loaded film. Together, as photographer and participant, we created these portraits that blend or embed person and place together.

I am indebted to the 16 wonderful people that you will meet in this book.

Portraits of the 16 participants:

June 9th book launch at bikeSauce, Toronto – Photography by John Belton and Áine Belton

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Here is a map of the participants’ locations visited in Toronto and the GTA:

Map 2Map 1


Double Exposure photography 2015-2016

I have taken a break from using my DSLR and photoshop to create a series of double exposures with no editing. The element of chance is incorporated when I shoot a roll of film only to reload it back into the camera and shoot with it again. I do not make a note of what each frame already has upon it – I know a theme for the roll e.g., portraits of a particular city, portraits of street art, architecture, family and friends. However I tend to then write over the theme or a roll with an additional theme so you could have a roll of double exposures of portraits of family with urban architecture. Elements of both combine to form unique compositions, ultimately it is the camera settings and exposure time that control how these double exposures will look.

This project has been in development on and off for 2 years depending on self-funding.

Below are examples of travel combinations – Cologne (Germany) / Faversham (UK) – 2015


Collaborative Double Exposures – Dublin/Rome/Galway (2016)

I sent rolls of film to fellow Irish photographers Janet Williams and Aoife O’Sullivan. We kept our ideas secret from the start, trying to keep the surprise of the image layers to ourselves. Using two different cameras (my Nikon and their own cameras) we have some unexpected overlapping images in some of the frames! Janet shot her roll in Dublin and sent it to me to shoot over whilst I was on vacation in Rome in August 2016. Aoife’s roll was shot in both Dublin and Galway, she has arranged a mix of urban and country scenes on her roll. Similarly, Aoife’s roll was with me whilst I was in Rome. The results were very unexpected and abstract with some candid portraits of family and photographer, city and home life. I used sheets of clear/colored acetate to layer on shapes and glows of color to some of the shots.

Janet Williams / Aine Belton


Aoife O’Sullivan / Aine Belton


December Collaboration – Yunner and Aine, Toronto and Dublin

My good friend and talented professional photographer Yunner borrowed my Nikon and shot scenes around the Kensington market area in snowy Toronto. His idea was about finding spaces that were ubiquitous, places that looked like they could be anywhere in the world and it is a very common fact that Toronto is the most diverse city in the world. When Yunner finished with this roll of film, I re-loaded the camera and shot scenes in Dublin just before Christmas Eve. Here’s how it worked: