Saturday, March 6, 2010

REVIEW: Mark Chaney at Capitol Grounds in Montpelier

Theodore A. Hoppe

Anyone who has played around with 35 mm cameras has probably created a double exposure at some point. It wasn't an uncommon occurrence to create one by accident when getting to the end of a roll of film and trying to squeeze in one more picture. Triple exposures, however, rarely happened by accident, so it may surprise some to learn the term "triptography." Wikipedia defines "Triptography as "an automatic photographic technique whereby a roll of film is used three times (either by the same photographer or, in the spirit of Exquisite Corpse, three different photographers), causing it to be triple-exposed in such a way that the chances of any single photograph having a clear and definite subject is nearly impossible."

“Creativist Christopher Thurlow is often credited with discovering the technique when his urge to continue taking photographs was suddenly challenged by the fact that he had run out of un-exposed film,” according to Wikipedia.

Digital artist and photographer Mark Chaney of Redmark Design in South Burlington, has redefined the term for multiple imaging in the digital age. Chaney says Tritography™ is the exploration of a digital collage art form that mixes more than one original digital image to render "unreal realities". The rational and irrational appear if one gazes at the image long enough for the mind to relax. New spaces and places appear in the depths of the image, much like an optical illusion.

He attributes his process to the "surrealist notions of the early 20th century, related to photomontage and cut-ups." His influences include the Bauhaus and Russian Constructivisim of the 20's and 30's, and the Beat Generation of the 40's and 50's.

Often, with the use of film, the overlapping of images would make it difficult, if not impossible, to determine where one frame stopped and the next started. It was up to the photographer to determine what to print from the images captured on the film. Digital photography has added more control to the process. Digital impressions are layered on top of one another to form a collage. Each image is intentionally chosen by the artist with respect to composition, color, scale, shape, shadow, light, and content. The effect is like seeing a lap-dissolve (sometimes called "cross- fading") power point image that’s frozen in time.

Chaney's current Giclee prints, Vermont Visions are on display at Capitol Grounds in Montpelier until the end of March.

For more information visit these websites: and

Image: Rolling Fog Sunrise