P.N.: I first thought about it in Colmar in 1999 in front of Matthias Grünewald. The photographs for my first triptych were taken in Alsace in Blodelsheim. In the same roll of film I had the three images that later became the triptych. The tryptich provided a solution for one of my problems while working in Mulhouse. I just couldn’t explain it all with one image. There I was confronted with the banality of everyday life and racism, still very difficult issues to portray. One of the pieces I did placed four images together: a mixed-race couple, a launderette open seven days a week, a grainy television screen and a menu on a canteen’s wall.

T.H.: The triptych is a very special composition of three images with a famous tradition in western religious painting. How do you deal with series or sequences of images in general? Are they of any importance in your work or the making of your photography?

P.N.: Let’s put it this way: pictures are taken, pictures wait in boxes, and then I wait till I have something to say. I can go for months without working, just thinking. The form is always the book. It comes before the exhibition. Far Cry for instance was designed as a book first and then adapted to a show. The sequence of the images for me is the key to photography. The important thing in sequences, in photography, poetry or music, is not really the images, the words or the notes; it’s the space between them! How they breathe! That’s why putting a book together is such a thrill.

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