An introduction to Dualphotography.
Dualphotography represents the art of simultaneously taking two complementary photographs of one scene or context, from two complementary points of view, and combining them into a single photo: a dualphoto.
My original idea came in order to palliate the missing photographer syndrome when taking group photos. I always felt that the sacrified left-apart individual taking the pic haunted the scene and saddened it no matter how joyful the capture originally felt.
Simply taking both a group picture and a selfie would do the trick. So, while there might have been earlier experiments in simultaneously combining two points of view in such a way, I could not find a trace or any effective apparatus to do it. Using what seemed the optimal camera to do so, my smartphone, I developed a prototype (on an iPhone, the Duall Dualphoto app http://duall.photo ). And suddenly that original idea lead to some more interesting and innovating experiments...
The original declination of dualphotography I will name ‘back-to-back dualphotography’, where two lenses are coupled and looking in opposite directions.
Such an apparatus can be used to capture both subject and photographer at once, meshing together your focus of interest with your choice of scene composition, and your actual ‘selfie’ state, offering the best of both worlds at once, with a supplementary narrative layer. This basically is your captured moment, with the addition of an extra key for better understanding of what you really felt and saw.
In a similar way, the device can be used to abstract both camera and potographer from the environment, as if they were an immeterial single thin plane, and thus let you capture the surrounding world from front to back as an infinite scene continuum. This ressembles what you would get with 360° techniques, but flattened out as a diptych, and again including your composition and dramatisation.
For the beginner, let us maybe describe a few basic techniques.
The ‘self and other’ technique is the simplest way to simultaneously record the scene of interest and the photographer’s mood/state (which can make quite a difference for the viewer in order to understand what was really going on).
The ‘between two’ technique is a variation letting you capture a dialogue between two subjects, not including you, favoring the face-to-face interaction and/or drama unfolding.
Again removing you from the picture, the ‘from the top’ technique lets you catch a scene at near natural-eyesight height, thus letting you take a picture of the ‘whole place’.
While not as technically accurate or complete as some 360° cameras, it has the advantage of being readilly understandable, respectful of your composition and subjective of the photographer’s point-of-view, acurately specifying what you want as the focus of interest.
Depending on the equivalent or different focal length, the focus can also be increased on a specific zone of interest, from one side or another, that which can’t be done with 360° scenes.
The final major declination is the ‘lateral take’ technique. Similarily to the previous one, it removes the photographer-camera body from the overall scene while preserving discretion during the take.
It also offers a more immersive feel from waist-level, a bit as when using a device with a top viewfinder, like on a Rolleiflex camera or alike.
While there probably were earlier similar experiments in dualphotography, I haven’t found any trace, the potential for extra photographic narration is definitely great.
While messing around coding the original app, I figured it also would be a fantastic trick to go from a paper-thin device to an incredibly wide one, one that would extend your vision to another geographical location (e.g. standing on one side of an ocean and taking a dualphoto from both banks, leaving the ocean out of the frame).
That second type of dual photography I will name collaborative portal-plane photography. It is similar to back-to-back but with a twist. Half the picture is done on your device, the other half through another user’s connected device, linked by means of the Internet, and in accordance to your heading.
In that mode, thanks to your device’s integrated gyroscopes and compass, your picture will be shared to another similar device that would have taken a picture but in the opposite direction. Then the app will create a dualphoto on both separate devices, and following a server-side app’s indication. As such, it is as if you were actually skipping the distance between your lens and the back-to-back one from afar on the other user’s end-device.
The distance between your lens and the other user’s makes for a virtually miles-wide thick device, letting you see through a portal to the other’s geographical location, and vice-versa.
When working in that mode, you won’t need to take a dualphoto per se, a single photo will suffice for the online software to generate a dualphoto correspondance with a remote device’s photo opposing you. If you decide to still originally capture a dualphoto, the software will generate two dualphotos from it, both of opposing directions.
In the future I will continue modifying and elaborating this article. You will see that dualphotography is quite an addictive and savoury art.
Stay tuned, and don’t hesitate to send me feedback and /or questions. :)
You can also check the Wikipedia entry.