Doubling coincidence with layout
If a coincidence is good, a double coincidence is more than twice as good
Never underestimate the power of presentation. Very few photos nowadays are seen in isolation. They’re usually grouped, on a page as here, or on a screen or on a gallery wall. Just as all photographers are now their own processing lab, we’re also our own picture editor and art director. One of the strongest devices in layout and presentation is the simple pairing, putting one image next to another so that the viewer is being shown both in one glance. Wilson Hicks, the picture editor of
Life magazine way back, called it ‘The Third Effect” – the extra that happens when you combine two shots. But isn’t that the opposite of coincidence? It’s surely deliberate. Well, yes and no. Coincidence comes from your eye making a visual connection that others may not have seen, and that applies as much to sorting a set of images as to finding the coincidence in the camera’s viewfinder. Here’s a double-page spread from a book by Shanghaibased photographer Yao Yao, about Venice, and it’s laid out in numbers – pairs of pairs. Individually, there are small, neat coincidences in the moment and framing. Putting these shots together emphasises the idea of twosomes, and adds the new element of colour pairs.
Pairing two images enhances the coincidence of complementary in this photo essay