Thursday, November 5, 2009

Diptyches in Photography

Chicago Street with Corn Cob La Orchila Sand
A photography diptych is a combination of two adjacent images  to form a single artistic statement.  Most commonly, diptyches are found in the side-by-side format (probably due to the historical foundations of diptyches…Google diptych, or go to Wikipedia if you are interested in the history), but work equally well in an over-under form.
Salto Sapo - 1
AF Memorial sillouette
I originally brought up the idea of diptyches in the context of one of my ongoing projects - (Un)Focused on DC.  This project is based on the form and light of Washington DC with a distinct lack of focus – camera focus.  As I began to collect photographs, I was increasingly happy with the results, but I felt a hint of discomfort.  I concluded that a full collection of unfocused images was too much of a good thing.  I then decided to proceed with the project using diptyches.  Specifically I am matching focused and unfocused shots to create an artistic statement.
Caracas Barrio Highlight Ants
The diptyches featured in this post are not from the (Un)Focused project, but I do intend on sharing some of these soon.  These pairs are presented to illustrate the concept of a diptych.  I am very attracted to the concept of a diptych and frequently use it as a way  arrange the photographs on the walls of my home.  The first group is an example of a pairing you will see upon entering my home.
Chicago Egg
Hirshorn Museum 3 of 6
One of the great things about diptyches is that the combination of the two photographs is frequently much more interesting than either as an independent photograph.  In some cases, a so-so photograph can become very interesting in combination with another.  I think the previous grouping is a good example.  The Chicago millennium park photograph on top is an interesting photograph.  The Hirshorn museum photograph below it, less so.  In combination, the Hirshorn and the Chicago photographs become much more interesting.
Minaret on Black Sky Washington Monument with Moon-2
Sometimes the meaning of a diptych goes beyond the color, shades, and form.  Particularly true for diptyches, although the case for all art, the meaning can be negotiated.  The artist has intent.  The viewer interprets.  The interaction of the two positions creates interest.
Why Stop- Has anyone seen my lama
And who is to say that diptychs can’t be fun as well?
I hope you enjoyed the photography and yet another way to extend your creativity and enjoyment of photography,
Have fun and go make some great photography!

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