Interview : From Paris to Atlanta, passing by Madrid, panoramas on the theme of the cities with Autopano by Joel Juge

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Joël Juge is currently exhibiting ‘Cities…In panoramic’ in Vichy, France. This mathematics teacher is passionate by panoramic photography and he shares with us his universe and his love for the cities. He uses Autopano for his stitchings and transforms few ones into ‘little planets’.

Joël, you have a passion for photography for several years now and currently you are exhibiting  ‘Cities… in Panoramic’ in your place, Vichy. Can you tell us more?

‘Cities… in Panoramic’ is my 10th exhibition. 35 varied-size printings presented at the Valéry Larbaud multimedia library in Vichy, France, in a beautiful room with a high-quality lighting. From Atlanta to Paris, from New York to Berlin, from Madrid to Rome, from Venise to… Vichy: this is an itinerary widths or in ‘little planets’ which is shown from October 1 to 29, 2011. Stitchings from 2 to 24 photos in order to create classical panoramas but also full spheres that I transform into squares.

Exibition Hall in Vichy

Where does your passion for panoramic photography come from?

For a long time, more than 30 years, I wished to make the viewing-angle of my photographs wider in order to be completely free in the composition of my images. I tried, in vain, to stitch photos under the enlarger of my black and white lab. The advent of the digital era with software processing gave me hope at the dawn of the 2000s. I tried every available piece of software and I can still remember my emotion when I tried Autopano for the first time back in 2006: I understood that I would be able to reach my goal. I am extremly grateful to Alexandre Jenny (founder of Kolor): he allowed me to build all the images I had been keeping in my mind and that technical limitations prevented me to create so far. I was also very lucky to meet Arnaud Frich who gave me decisive advices for my progress.
Broaden our field of vision in order to transcend our contemplation on things. That is my motto!

Why choosing this theme of the cities?

I spent all my childhood in a little village and to me, the city always appeared as mysterious and worrying. So many solitudes are in close contact. Photographing the city in its whole dimension, which is made possible by the panoramic format, is surely an attempt to appropriate it. I like highlighting the city geometry and its architectural units. And I am often looking for the paradoxical side of images taken by night when the city becomes an empty land.

Joel Juge

You are a mathematics teacher, is there a correlation between image stitching and the logic of maths?

Maybe it is not logic but rather the strictness and geometry witch can be correlated to the image-stitching. For several years, I used to teach the plane and space geometric transformations and we can recognize them in my photomontages.

What equipment do you use and why?

For the computer part, I only have a simple laptop running… Autopano Giga! For the photography, I work with a Pentax K20D equipped with a 18-200 Sigma or a 8 mm fisheye Samyang lens… since my 10 mm took an unfortunate fall! For the  shooting, it is often a free-hand work or with a monopod topped with a simple flat angle bracket . Sometimes, it happens that I hold the monopod upright to increase the shooting’s height. A video was made about this technique during the 2008 Autopano Meeting in Graçay, France. When I need more precision or when the light is tenuous, I use a Fancier tripod with a PanoMaxx panoramic head.

What features of Autopano were the most useful for this project?

Autopano has too many qualities, I cannot list all useful ones! In the case of panoramics shot in town, I think that the ‘vertical lines’ tool can save certain complicated situations.

What are your expectations for the future versions of Autopano?

To my mind, it is already perfect!

Do you have other projects to show us ?

‘Cities…In Panoramic’

I am already preparing a new exhibition for November 2011 : first photomontage avalaible on :

View from Martin Luther King's House : Auburn Avenue

Glass room in Vichy

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