Landscape photography – Triptychs

The word ‘Triptych’ originates from the Greek adjective meaning ‘three-fold’, and was adopted by Christians in the early modern period to display altar art on three relief-carved panels. In this period, and as the technique was adopted into Gothic architecture, the centre image was often larger, clearly the intended focus of the work. More recently however, artists have begun to place equal emphasis on each panel, by making them all the same size. I was attracted to the triptych in this form, and sought to further the balanced outcome by having each piece focus on the same landscape. In this way, each image is of equal importance, but provides new information by showing the subject from a new angle. With each changing frame, I hope that a sense of movement is created that more accurately portrays the changeable scenic reality.

The first time I had the opportunity to use the triptych form was when I was photographing a beach on the Northern coast of Fraser Island, Australia. A very remote area, the beach was deserted, meaning I was able to shoot the environment stripped bare of people. I was shooting on a Hasselblad but wanted to simultaneously capture the detail in the sand and water, along with the distant breaking waves and the remoteness of the scene. Working on a wider lens meant sacrificing at least one of these elements, so I ended up shooting closer segments. Having shot a few polaroids and looked at those in unison, I had the idea to put them together with the skyline acting as a constant. This made the group more of a recognisable set, and my first triptych was created.