Tag Archives: Three Images in Three Days

Three Images in Three Days: Black Tree No. 3


Black Trees Triptych

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!

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Three Images in Three Days: Black Tree No. 2

Recent Work

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.

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Three Images in Three Days: Black Tree No. 1

Recent Work

Cameras have the power to generate a lot of output very quickly.  Unlike a painting, which can take days or weeks to complete, a finished photograph can be (although not always should be) finished in a comparatively short period of time.  This is one of the inherent properties of the photographic medium, and it can be a curse and a blessing.

It’s a curse when you think about the huge, huge, huge number of pretty mediocre photographic images out there.  The subject of the image in this post is a tree, so let’s just consider the number of people in the world with cameras and the number of trees that are being made the subject of photographs.  It shouldn’t take long to conclude that by sheer numbers alone, you will end up with quite a number of unoriginal and repetitive snapshots of trees.

However, the relative ease with which a camera can produce a lot of images is a blessing when this property is used creatively.  One way to do this is to use multiple photographs in the creation of a single presentation, such as a diptych or a triptych.  Combining multiple images in a single presentation like this leverages the high output capability of photography to create works that arguably uniquely exploit the capabilities of the photographic medium.  It is, of course, true that painters and other artists can produce diptychs and triptychs as well, but I would suggest that it’s just not quite the same – the inherent realism of photography binds the panels of a photographic diptych or triptych much more closely than a painting, creating a more unitary and self-contained work.

Over the next three posts, I thought I might put this theory to the test.  We’ll start with the image in this post, “Black Tree No. 1,” and see how things develop!

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