Nelson Camera Club

Welcome To The 2019 Nelson National Triptych Salon

Triptych – “threefold” derived from the Greek “tri” meaning three and “ptysso” meaning “to fold”. ln its earliest religious form, a triptych consisted of three painted panels hinged together so that the two outer panels could be folded in over the (usually larger) central panel. Today “triptych” can be taken to mean any set of three art works designed to be displayed together.

Nelson Camera Club’s National Triptych Salon has been initiated to encourage and stimulate photographers in the skill of creating three images that not only work well together but also succeed in providing a total impression on the viewer that is greater than the sum of the three individual photographs. The images must be made up of three (and only three) distinctly separated photographs presented on a common background. The subject matter is open.

Timetable – Important dates for the Salon.

Terms and Conditions – Terms and Conditions of entry for the Salon.

Entry Form – click to go to form

Judges – Details on the judges for the Salon to be advised

Awards – Details of the Salon awards.

Constructing a Triptych – How to construct a Triptych using either FastStone or Photoshop.  The contact email for further general enquiries.

What is a triptych?

For the purpose of this Salon a triptych is a presentation made up of three (and only three) distinctly separated photographic images displayed on a common background. The background should complement the presentation of the three images but must not become a significant “fourth image” in the message of the triptych’s three images.

No titles must appear on the background. The only restriction on the arrangement of the triptych’s three images is that they must not meet or overlap.

There is no requirement that the three images must be either the same size or the same shape. Added borders, drop shadows etc. are allowed. Please read “Terms & Conditions” for the full details.

Categories               Open

All images are to be entered in this category

…..  There is only one entry subject category – “Open”. Within this category the selectors will make awards not only for the overall Champion Triptych but also for the best Monochrome Triptych, the best Abstract Triptych and the most Humorous Triptych.

What makes a triptych successful?

Perhaps one of the biggest collections of triptychs in the country is held by the Justice Department. Their type of triptych may have a strong message about the nature of the subject matter but it’s a rather specialised use of the triptych art form.

What makes a triptych a successful triptych? The individual photographs must be technically competent…putting three poorly-produced pictures together is not likely to result in a strong final image. lt’s desirable that the total triptych should demonstrate the creativity of the photographer …by the approach taken with a familiar subject or by the choice of an unusual subject. But above all the complete work should communicate something to the viewer. The way in which the three images are made to relate to one another is a cardinal element in establishing this communication. The images may tell a story by showing a sequence of events. They may depict different objects that reinforce a common theme or pattern. The compositional strength of the total image may be dependent on lines and shapes in the individual images that only reveal their significance when the three images are presented together.

Of course a single photograph may be “cut” into three parts which then provide the three elements for a triptych. ln this case the resulting triptych should certainly have a linkage between its components …they were originally one image! ls this cheating? No it’s a very valid way of creating a triptych. Will it always result in a successful triptych? No, to be judged successful in relation to the original “complete” photograph the “new” triptych image must provide the viewer with something extra over that original. This it may well do if the cuts have been made at strategically appropriate places but cutting for the sake of cutting is not a guaranteed way of producing a strong triptych.

Special Award Definitions


Images must be in black and white or in varying tones of only one colour.


Anything that you think will cause the judges to laugh or smile.


To not represent a scene pictorially

The Nelson National Triptych Salon thanks our sponsors for their support:

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