Double Exposures: Bringing youth together with film

Jessie Carlson/Genevieve Ward
Jessie Carlson/Genevieve Ward
Genevieve and Jessie

Proving that the best ideas come from mistakes, the new show up at Venice Arts Shipping & Receiving was born out of an accident in one of the project leaders’ darkrooms. Emily Schiffer, who was teaching at the Sioux YMCA in South Dakota, had a student Demi Howard who had shot over a used roll of film, resulting in double-exposed film. Seeing a framework for the collaboration she had been discussing with California’s Venice Arts staffers Elysa Voshell and Deanna Erdmann, the group began pairing up the 26 students, and having them exchange exposed rolls of film. “We wanted to see the two different worlds collide in one negative,” says Schiffer.

Working together frame-by-frame taught lessons about negotiation and collaboration, Julie Cabra, 19, and Samantha Herrald both photographed children straight on, but realized, to make their exposures interesting, one had to head in a different direction, leading to Cabra to focus on landscapes. “I’m not very open and it was hard to explain and communicate what’s going on in my life,” says Cabra. “But it was an amazing feeling to convey my ideas and experiences and meet someone that went through similar things.”

At the opening the students met for the first time face-to-face, “Photography opened a lot of doors for me. I’d never left South Dakota. I went to New York, now I’m in Los Angeles.,” exclaimed Jesse Carlton, 16, who had worked hard to raise money for the trip. “We get to see them,” says Erdmann, “in this magical space, their life bleeding into the other person’s life in the form of these photos.”

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