In my previous post, I talked about my belief that photography is especially suited to multiple image formats, such as diptychs and triptychs. To test this theory, I’m posting Three Images in Three Days and exploring the diptych and triptych formats. For day two, here is a diptych made from the image in the previous post, “Black Tree No. 1,” and the second image in my Three Images in Three Days concept, “Black Tree No. 2.”
As mentioned, I believe the inherent realism of photography contributes strongly to making photographic diptychs and triptychs unitary and self-contained works. However, to really make the diptych or triptych format successful, I also think it is important to create a strong relationship between the panels. One way to do this is conceptually, wherein the panels may not look much alike but may be bound by an underlying concept. For example, a diptych about trees might show an uncut California Redwood in the first panel, and log in a sawmill in the second panel, to make a conceptual point about unsustainable wood harvesting practices in old growth forests.
Personally, I prefer using visual elements to create a strong relationship among the panels. It may be enough simply to have similar or complementary visual subject matter, such as the similar black trees and grey skies in each of the panels here. However, visual elements can be used more creatively. Here, for example, I tried to place the elements to create a center-weighted composition of the two panels. I arranged the panels such that the right-leaning tree in the right panel is balanced by the slightly left-lean and large left branch of the tree in the left panel. More subtly, I burned the tops of each panel such that they tend to darken toward the center of the diptych. My hope is that I’ve created an overall, single movement within the diptych that tends to radiate out from the center toward the edges.
Of course, there are many ways to use visual cues to relate the panels of a diptych or a triptych. Tomorrow, I’ll explore this concept a bit further.