When it comes to ephemeral gifts from Mother Nature, there’s nothing more thrilling than the tube and romantic as flowers. Which is why photographer Aaron Checkwood’s mash-up of these two phenomenons is so hypnotic.
Checkwood’s process for creating these double exposures is purely an analog pursuit. Which means he’ll shoot flowers on a roll of film, wind the film back into the canister, reload it into his camera and then shoot waves on that same roll. Imagine the Rain Man-like calculations of f-stops and shutter-speeds that must go off in Checkwood’s mind to pull these off. Somehow, he’s figured out how to align all the factors involved. In a digital world where creating “double exposures” is as simple as layering two images on top of each other in Photoshop, Checkwood’s work in this realm with film is especially remarkable.
“Normally I would get tired of certain projects and move on to new ones,” Checkwood told SURFER. “But this one keeps me coming back for more because it’s film, it’s never perfect, and you never know what you’re going to get. Yes, you can control the lighting and the look of the flower but as we all know controlling waves, ocean conditions and light is a whole other nightmare – or joy. As time has gone on, I feel like I’ve gotten better at finding the formula but it’s miles away from perfect. To me, I’m constantly trying to find films, textures, colors and patterns that I can play with. Though many may come out horrible, there are the nuggets that somehow come together – and I have no freakin’ idea how those happen.”
Checkwood is four years deep into his calculated pursuit of these happy accidents. “This latest batch is my evolution of what has become my passionate experiment,” Checkwood said. “And I hope to keep on going and finding new outcomes.”
Gush over Checkwood’s curated bouquet of tubes below and head to his site, thecheckrepublic.com, to buy prints and browse more of his work. To follow Checkwood’s evolving double exposure process, check out his Instagram, @the_check_republic.
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