With the ever-increasing price of film these days, “experimenting” sounds like a scary, money-draining concept. If your endeavor doesn’t turn out, well, the party’s over—and your wallet is a little emptier than when you started. However, one photographer is making experimentation his signature style—and TikTok is loving the crazy results. 

EBS: Expose both sides

Evan Purney, who goes by @ameyecool on Instagram and TikTok, uses a technique known as EBS, or Expose Both Sides, to create otherworldly photographs. EBS is exactly what it sounds like: A photographer will shoot the roll of film on both the base and emulsion sides, producing double exposures with a Martian-red tint. 

“These are basically just double exposures, so a lot of the same tips apply,” Purney explains of the method. “In general, the first image will fill the shadows of the second image. To get the look I got in a lot of my photos, I illuminated the subject with a flashlight and metered for the highlights on the ‘regular’ side. This basically turned the whole background into fairly dense shadows, which lets the red-scale image fill it in.” 

"This was probably my favourite off the first roll. Even though the effect wasn't super pronounced, it really got me thinking about how I could adjust my settings for the next attempt. I also love the outfit Kelsey wore for this shoot and I feel if the effect was more noticeable the pictures could have been unreal."
“This was probably my favorite off the first roll. Even though the effect wasn’t super pronounced, it really got me thinking about how I could adjust my settings for the next attempt. I also love the outfit Kelsey wore for this shoot and I feel if the effect was more noticeable, the pictures could have been unreal.” Evan Purney

Photo albums inspired a dive into analog

The Nova Scotia-based artist didn’t actually get into photography until last October when a visit to his parents surfaced some old photo albums. 

“I realized how much I enjoyed revisiting old memories and hearing the stories behind them,” he recalls. “I found I never looked back on my phone pictures and would lose them whenever I got a new phone.”

Though new to photography, Purney dove right into film—he has yet to own a digital camera but says that will come along eventually. 

“I went with film because the unpredictability and the candidness are really fun for me—I feel I try really hard to get ‘perfect’ photos when I can take a bunch with instant feedback [using a smartphone]. There was definitely a strong element of nostalgia [in choosing film] as well,” he writes to PopPhoto

purple crocus shot using EBS technique exposing base and emulsion sides of the film
“This image is definitely much busier, but I really like how the flower and graveyard contrast each other in both look and subject matter. In particular, this image gives me a lot of ideas for next time!” Evan Purney

Nothing is too wild 

Purney has also experimented with film soup, low-res digital photography (a Nintendo DSi and a Game Boy Camera are the tools of choice), re-loading disposable cameras, low-speed films, and a 1950s camera. But it was his interest in shooting double exposures that lead to his discovery of the EBS technique and the first roll. 

While the first attempt was, by his words, okay, one good image and some tinkering led to the second roll, which garnered the attention of social media. For those curious about the effect, Purney published a string of tutorials covering the step-by-step process. 

“I haven’t seen any other videos on it, but lots of people seemed interested! I’d love to see what other people manage to create with it, I really found it to be a fun challenge,” he shares. “My best advice is to start simple and go from there. You can do some amazing things with this technique, but it takes a bit of trial and error to get the hang of it.”