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Seeing Double, Double Vision, Double Exposures, Trick Photography, Special Effects

Birmingham Photo Co. (Birmingham, Alabama)
Double Portrait of Frank Fowler, with Wheelbarrow and Fan
Albumen print cabinet card, circa 1896

Lest someone mistake this for a portrait of genuine twins, there is a pencil notation on the back of the mount: “Both Frank Fowler.”

A similar prop is used in a double exposure shown in Walter E. Woodbury’s Photographic Amusements (1896), the most widely-circulated book on the techniques of trick photography. But in Woodbury’s rather gruesome example, a man is seen carting his own enlarged and severed head in the wheelbarrow. This more jovial version of the effect was also done with a different technique, for Woodbury’s photograph relied on a completely black background to hide the dividing line between the exposures.

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