Two for One


dip·tych: n.  a work made up of two matching parts


A recent Digital Photography School post presented an interesting concept: using a diptych to tell a story. “A diptych of two images, or parts of two images, is an impactful storytelling  tool ” – the article includes wonderfully creative examples of this storytelling device.

Since reading this article, I have been on the look-out for photographic ideas that could work as a diptych. I found it to be a good exercise in slowing down – to seek the myriad ways that a given subject can be captured so that a story can be told. I had to fight against my desire to move on to the next thing – that “hurry, hurry” that oftentimes takes over my mind.

This patterned stone wall fronts an abandoned auto repair shop. The beautifully repetitive pattern was an immediate attraction. And then I noticed the reflection in a nearby window – there was the pattern again, this time in its negative form, overlaid on vertical venetian blinds – and you know how fond I am of blinds. Here we have the thing and its reflection – cause and effect – a pattern transformed. I think the two images are strengthened by their combination.

For me, this experiment was more difficult than I imagined and I may explore it further in a future Third Thursday Challenge. Improving my storytelling capabilities is a personal creative goal.

What about you? Have you tried the diptych approach to telling your story?


Linking with Texture Tuesday, Anything Goes Edition, hosted by Kim Klassen




Posted on March 12, 2013, in Photography and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. What a wonderful and inspiring way in which to frame and tell a story. it’s not something I’ve considered before…but am definitely thinking about it now. Great eye!!!

    • Marcie – it is a great idea, isn’t it? It seems like it would be easy but I found it to be rather a challenge. And challenge is good.

  2. Great concept and I love how you captured one. Haven’t tried this myself but will be on the look out.

    • Kathryn – I was greatly impressed by what others have done with this concept – the way they used it to tell a story. It is not something that comes naturally to my style – which is why it intrigues me. I would love to see what you could come up with.

  3. Oh, I love this, Brenda! What an eye to see this!
    I have never tried this form of story-telling…I wilk definitely give it a try

    • Juli – it’s the simple concepts that often prove the most profound. On the surface, these seems like it would rather easy but I found that it takes quite a bit of thought to really create something meaningful.

  4. Oh, I love this. It works beautifully. I’ve seen a few diptych projects on instagram and am really intrigued by them – there is no doubt there are great story telling opportunities through them and I love the completely different interpretations and results I’ve seen. Great topic for Third Thursday…I think I’ll have an explore of this too. 🙂

    • Becs – I am always amazed at the sheer ingenuity and creativity that so many can bring to bear on a simple idea like this one. It is rather inspiring, isn’t it? I would love to see what you come up with, playing with this idea.

  5. This is a great pairing, Brenda! How clever you are to capture the negative reflection. And what a great story telling idea! I am taking up your challenge, it looks like fun!

    • Gina – oh, I can’t wait to see what you come up with – what your take will be on this concept. When you think of it – pairing two images together – it all seems rather simple. But I found that it takes much more thought than it would seem. An excellent challenge for sure.

  6. Fascinating images! I’ve only used diptychs for comparing two photos, not for storytelling. I’ll have to read that article!

  7. I’ve never tried this either. I’m off to read the article. Thanks for another great idea, Brenda!

    • Lee – I love sharing great ideas. We can all use some inspiration on those days when we don’t have any idea what to do or what to shoot or what to do with our images once we have them.

  8. Really great shot. I love refections in images.


    • Thanks, Earl. Reflections are one of my favorite photographic subjects. Give me a reflective surface and I’m a happy camper.

  9. Although I’ve played around with this thought, I haven’t jumped into it. You have challenged me to learn more about it. Thank you~ and love the reflections and repeating patterns in this.

    • Cheryl – it is a great idea, isn’t it? I love to be able to spread good ideas and inspire others. Be sure to share with me if you try it out.

  10. Have never tried, but I will now. Definetly forces you to slow down and really look! Thanks for sharing.

    • Judy – thanks for stopping by and commenting. I’m glad your found this idea inspirational. For me, I can use anything that helps me slow down.

  11. Hey Brenda-Appreciating your visits to my FYE posts. I have been up to my (happy no) ears in trying to keep up and not much of a blog hopper of late. Glad I caught this one. You know I love reflections-how cool to put them together.
    I think diptychs are a great addition to the tool box, but find when I create one it takes power away from both images. I’ll have to check out that article. Love the BW.

    • Susan – I have greatly enjoyed your FYE posts – I learned a lot from your learning. My diptych example certainly only scratches the surface of what can be done with this idea of storytelling. It is a fairly superficial example, actually, but I am intrigued by the idea. When it is done right, it is very powerful.

  12. What a fabulous find! I absolutely love the texture found in the shot. Great eye for detail.

    • Lisa – thanks! Reflections are definitely one of my favorite subjects – having the pattern itself and its reflection was an added bonus.

  13. Ooops. I read your comment before writing mine. However, I did notice and appreciate the reflection of the pattern. Excellent combination!

    It seems to me that you are setting yourself many new goals and projects. You are one busy woman!

  14. I love the idea of diptychs – you might be interested in looking at where Louise hawson uses a lot of really interesting diptychs as she explores suburbs in Sydney & around the world.

    • Leanne – thanks so much for the link to Louise’s site. Such an amazing project and such wonderful use of diptychs. She juxtaposes images together that don’t seem like they would work but they do. I really admire people who take on personal projects like this one that are so unique and interesting.

  15. This is incredible, Brenda. To me, it really shows side by side different ways of seeing. And, it seems to me a good exercise in creativity – the way you slowed down and were on the lookout for two things that connect. I will check out that article in DPS – missed that one.

    • Kim – yes, it does offer the chance to see in different ways – to look for those subtle connections. Anything that helps me slow down is a good thing – my mind likes moving ahead to the “next thing”.

  16. Wow! Amazing image and I’m so glad you were able to slow down and discover the story. I’ve done a few diptychs, but didn’t think about it as a way to tell a story. Fascinating! I’ll put this in my notes for my next photog walk. Even though I’m not working now I feel as if I need to hurry…I have got to let that go! :o)

    Beautiful work!

    • Suzette – oh, I completely understand that urge to hurry – even in my second year of retirement, when everything I do is by my choice, I find it difficult to slow down and just breathe. While I consider photography my form of meditation – even when engaged with it, I take a shot and then find myself ready to move on to the “next thing”. It is a continuing battle.

I greatly appreciate your comments!

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