In my Three Images in Three Days concept, I’ve been talking about using multiple images to make single presentation formats. Here on day three, I’ve used the two images from my previous two posts and a new image, “Black Tree No. 3,” to make the triptych in this post, “Black Trees Triptych.”
My previous post mentioned the idea of employing visual cues to create relationships among multiple image panels, using a diptych having a center-weighted composition to illustrate this point. The compositional considerations obviously change much when going from a diptych to a triptych, adding a layer of complexity but also opening up expanded visual possibilities. Here, I’ve tried to create an overall sense of movement from left to right across the three panels, both by placing the right-leaning trees at each end of the composition and through some dodging and burning. The left-right movement also is helped, I think, through some implied diagonal lines created in the clouds.
While a pure left-right movement can be compelling, it can be even more powerful to break this rhythm by placing an interrupting element in the line of movement. I’ve tried to do this in the middle panel with the tree that leans slightly to the left, hopefully introducing some tension into the composition to add to the visual interest.
Of course, the broader point is that there are many compositional possibilities when working with multiple images. I hope I’ve illustrated that over these last three blog posts. I do believe that each of the individual images I’ve been working with – the black trees nos. 1, 2, and 3 – are strong enough to stand on their own. But given the similarities in these images, they’re naturals for combining in the diptych and triptych formats, and I believe those diptychs and triptychs stand on their own as individual works in their own right, too.
If you’re a photographer, I encourage you to look through your archives for images that can be combined into multiple image presentations. It’s lots of fun, can yield some pretty interesting pieces, and is a great way to set yourself apart from a crowded field of conventional, single-frame imagery!