Greetings, Earthlings...

Welcome to Beyond the Limits of Reason, the meeting point for all things Michael Doubrava.

Michael Doubrava profile

I was born on Earth during the second half of the twentieth century.

Untitled (San Lorenzo, New Mexico)

Untitled (San Lorenzo, New Mexico)
A metaphor for the conflict between rationality and emotion; betweeen Apollo and Dionysus; between the empirical and the supernatural; between stasis and revolution...

our motto and mission is to

tickle the idiot
rapture the faithful
pity all the ignorant and hateful

illuminate the enlightened
confound the intellectual
with life distilled flood memory's temple

February 23, 2021

Three Different Visual Strategies/Responses to the Same Subject: Orchid

These three photographs were made using the same camera, in the same room, utilizing the same subject: my very patient and always willing subject, the plant I lovingly have named Lazarus, after the biblical figure who rose from the dead. Lazarus the Orchid came into my life  three or four years ago. This orchid has returned from what I believed was death, to bloom and flower again, over and over. This re-flowering, this rebirth, always inspires me to observe and celebrate and create a new round of photographs.

The top image is the most visually conventional, on the surface, yet even it is a couple of steps away from a traditional photograph: looking closely, the viewer detects ghostly double images within the frame.

The second image was made with a pinhole "lens", rather than an actual glass lens. The long exposure time, thirty seconds (due to the tiny f162 aperture through which light strikes the sensor), resulted in a bit of softening of the floral detail.

The third and final image is also a pinhole photograph; it varies from the second image due to a sense of overall Dionysian energy and fecundity, almost from a bug's-eye perspective.



January 27, 2021

January 2021

 My thought when I first viewed this in-camera, triple-exposure photograph, as it appeared on the viewing screen on the back of my DSLR, was that extremely weird, uncanny sensation that I was gazing at a figure simultaneously orchid and human.

January 21, 2021

January 2021: Channeling Francis Bacon, Oscar Wilde, Robert Louis Stevenson

 This photograph, a triptych of  multiple exposure images, was initially created in-camera: a series of long exposures lit by a hand-held LED flashlight and a 500 watt tungsten spotlight. The three individual images were then combined on a single canvas in Photoshop. I feel as though this is an image made by Francis Bacon, who ditched painting and picked up a camera after reading Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray  or Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde.

January 7, 2021

Nocturnal Eyeball Orchid, January 2021

This image began as an eight-shot, in-camera multiple-exposure photograph, Using a DSLR with multiple-exposure capability I photographed my eyeball, pointing the camera at my eyeball as I held the camera with one hand. Additionally, in order to make things more difficult, the only light source was a tiny pinhole-like light beam which was travelling into the room through the security peephole in the door. This multiple-exposure process was repeated and then images were selected and combined to create a new composite. This composite was then duplicated and the duplicate was reversed. The new reversed composite was dragged on top of the initial one. The images were then selectively modified via layer erasing/layer density in Photoshop, and then the layers were flattened, creating this new, final, 'master-composite'. This is as yet still a preliminary version of the as yet unfinished image.
  The process is so simple a monkey could do it!

December 15, 2020

The Toni Doll, December 2020

This image is the final result of a single quadruple-exposure 'source' photograph, made in-camera on a DSLR, when duplicated and paired, in reverse, with its' duplicate. Original source photo was a vertical image. The two vertical images when combined next to each other form this horizontal final image.

December 1, 2020


This first image is a double-exposure, and has been fully processed from a single, in-camera RAW file into a final TIFF after editing. I then made the reduced size JPEG you are looking at for internet purposes.

 I've included two photographs here: The smaller photo is more-or-less a straight out of camera image with minimal processing. The larger photograph is edited using, post-digital-processing and what I can only call "handwork" in Lightroom and Photoshop. The camera I use, a full-frame DSLR, allows for the production of multiple exposures on the same file, producing a RAW original.This image was a double exposure. I've done a bit of work increasing contrast, applying both minus clarity AND plus dehaze, and slight variations to a magenta, blue, and yellow color channels. I also tried split toning with color to add a color cast to the shadows and highlights. I still consider the final, processed image to be the truer expression of my internal, pre-conceived ideal. The expressive power of the image is finalized and made manifest in the 'digital darkroom', just as in days past the true vision of the analog photographer was made "real" in the analog darkroom. My photographs are not ABOUT the process, but they can't exist without it. That is why I occasionally share these details, since I normally prefer to speak only of the 'content', however one defines that slippery term. For me content refers more to intentions than objects.

November 19, 2020

Wetland Abstractions, Kansas, November 2020

The top image was a single exposure of the pond, made using a polarizing filter and a 105mm lens.

 This image is an in-camera triple-exposure. The camera was held parallel to the horizon for the first image, then rotated 180 degrees for the second exposure, and so on to the third, final exposure.

October 27, 2020

Mechanical Flowervine, 2020

 This image began as a series of in-camera multiple exposure photographs. On the day I made these photographs, I utilized my camera's multiple exposure capability and made three exposures on each digital file. Additionally, the camera was rotated to a different position on a circular axis between each exposure (the lens was in the same spot, although the camera body was rotated). These four separate files, each a triple exposure, were combined on a new canvas. This new composite image was then saved, and duplicated in a horizontal reverse. This reverse was then added to the first composite. "A process so simple a monkey could do it!"

October 14, 2020

Exploding Orchidbomb (October 14, 2020)

This image is a composite created from an original single photograph of an orchid. This source image was a multiple exposure of the orchid. This original source image was multiplied into individual identical copies. These nine copies were divided into three sets of three images each; each set was a row of three images in a horizontal line. These sets were either rotated vertically, or left alone. These sets were then arranged on top of each other, with each row laid horizontally upon the row beneath it. These rows were adjusted in Photoshop in layers slightly using the move tool to position them within the compositions vertical axis. A slight amount of blending occurred to smooth out edges, mostly at print output size viewing option.

October 4, 2020

Kansas Landscape, October 2020

 The tree which serves as the source image of this photograph stands alone in a carefully manicured suburban housing development. Its powerful, ancient, and mysterious presence does not seem diminished by its mundane surroundings; instead it appears to magnify its weird isolation within a theatrical, scripted space. As I left the golden fields surrounding this titan, I felt a malevolent presence as though this tree, and its family, is not happy with us.

September 4, 2019

August 2019 still-life of flowers morphs into a Baroque design

The original source material being photographed here was a vase of flowers sitting on a dining room table. Long after midnight I decided to make a couple of detail photographs of them. A few days later I "sandwiched" two of them together, making a new image. This image was duplicated four times, and flipped/rotated/reversed and then joined together, making the final image you see here. This image is very fun to look at, very entertaining, very hypnotic.  The central machine-like flower generator in the exact center is matched in weirdness only by the laughing face of the Dionysus-like creature at very top center. Finally, the viewer notices the pale "image" of a child's face emerging out of the center lower pattern as well. This child stares directly out of the frame, meeting the viewer's gaze. This photograph breaks expectations repeatedly, while still utilizing the tried-and-true compositional norms of the very late Renaissance.

July 7, 2019

Baroque Hallucination Fantasia Rapture, Rome, June 2019

This image was created on a swelteringly hot late afternoon in Rome. Walking through the Borghese Gardens, just past the Aurelian Wall portal. I noticed the beautiful trees which are quite different than I am used to, over four thousand miles away. I notice how the tops of the trees stand out against the sky, a kind of loose pattern. After a minute of fumbling around estimating the exposure details. I make two or three photos. One of them gets to serve as the single image from which this "quad" is formed. The Baroque aesthetic was of course coursing through my mind as I worked, and certainly is present in the "imperfect pearl", Baroque compositional design.
When I look at this creation, I see a delightful floating garden in the sky, upon which one might pleasantly, if carefully, stroll.

Looking for more?

You can access more imagery by clicking on the phrase above which says"older posts". Many additional works can be viewed dating back to the earliest posts which initiated this blog.