Chicago Style

Chicago Style

This is not a single shot. This is 160 images stitched together. Imagine a grid: 10 rows and 16 columns. Each cell in this grid is a separate shot which overlaps a bit with its neighbors. It’s called a multi-row panorama.

Each camera shot is good enough to make about 16x20” print. With multiple shots stitched together you can make a tack sharp 100x100” print.

Chicago Style

Why in the world would I go into such trouble? Why a single shot is not enough?

Here is my answer: when I started working on this body of work my main goal was to produce large 60x60” prints. I wanted them to look perfect not only from a distance but extremely detailed when you inspect the print very close. Print is a very different experience than the image viewed on the screen of your phone. Print is a physical object, image on Instagram is just pixels.

The obvious way to achieve that kind of print quality is to go the large format view camera route. 8x10 sheet film does wonders and after it’s scanned you can make 80x100” print out it. No problem. I am a photographer after all. I own a couple 8x10 view cameras, a bunch of sharp lenses, a dedicated fridge full with boxes of sheet film and I built a nice wet darkroom in my basement.

It did not work out as I planned. Using a large format camera is a slow methodical process. It requires full dedication and feels like a meditation. The process works well in the studio or when you are all alone in the wilderness photographing a magnificent landscape. In the hustle and bustle of the modern city not so much. You are in the people way with your tripod and huge camera and you do attract unwanted attention. I felt I needed to hire a bodyguard.

With a regular digital camera I can be quick and stealth, blend in and at maximum be perceived as an average “out-of-town tourist”. At first I used a tripod with a special panoramic head. But then I managed to go pure handheld and still produce hundreds of shots for a single print.

That’s how this print was made.