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Panoramic photos reveal personal glimpse of Israel

Artist uses old-school technique to showcase favorite cities.

April 28, 2015 | Latest Photo Prev Next
Timna Park, Israel.Timna Park, Israel.Photo: Moti Pinhassi
April 28, 2015 | Latest Photo

With a panorama photo setting on practically every camera, it's hard to remember that making a panorama used to be hard work. The photographer took multiple photos and then physically glued them together into scenic collages. Today's phones might make shooting panoramas easy, but there's something about the rough, gloriously imperfect human touch that technology just can't quite seem to replicate ... and one artist is bringing it back.

Israeli Moti Pinhassi began making homemade panoramas in 1999, while working in Paris. One night, as he was exploring the city, he made his way up to the roof of the 60-story Montparnasse Tower. Pinhassi surveyed the Paris skyline and took photos from all directions. At home, he compiled the photos into a panorama and liked what he saw.

Paris SkylinePinhassi's first panorama, complete with two Eiffel Towers. (Photo: Moti Pinhassi)

Pinhassi was hooked and has since created 170 panoramas. In doing so, he's joining the ranks of other prominent panorama-making artists like David Hockney and Jean-François Rauzier.

Pinhassi tells From The Grapevine that he doesn’t use computers to put together his panoramas. He’s old school – his tools are scissors and glue. Pinhassi likes to join lines in the photos to give the viewer a continuous image. That means making sure the horizon, streets, curbs, trees and mountains all match, allowing the viewer to take in the scene at a glance. As a result, the borders of his artwork remain edgy, rather than rectangular.

He mostly takes photos of Israel, especially his hometown of Netanya, which he considers the most beautiful city in the country.

Independence Square, Netanya - April 2013.Independence Square, Netanya. A new project has turned the square into an interactive installation offering a multi-sensual experience throughout the day and night. (Photo: Moti Pinhassi)

Pinhassi has mastered the art of the cityscape panorama. He took the photo below from the top of the city hall building in Tel Aviv:

Tel Aviv skylineIn this project, Pinhassi had to cut out some streets to get the skyline to match up. (Photo: Moti Pinhassi)

He likes to take photos of the same places at different times of day and throughout the year. This has led him to interesting discoveries. For one thing, the idea that the sun sets in the west year-round isn’t exactly true – Pinhassi has found that the sun actually moves slightly throughout the year. Check out this series of photos, all taken from Netanya beach at different times of year:

Summer on the beach.Summer on the Netanya beach. (Photo: Moti Pinhassi)

Winter on the beach.Winter on the Netanya beach. (Photo: Moti Pinhassi)

Sunset on the beach.Sunset on the Netanya beach. (Photo: Moti Pinhassi)

Pinhassi likes to play games with his viewer. Sometimes, he duplicates people, items or animals that are moving while he's taking the photos. For instance, there was actually only one black cat walking around as he took this panorama:

How many black cats can you count?The Station District, Tel Aviv, featuring one very active black cat. (Photo: Moti Pinhassi)

He advises other photographers to get out of the box and play with the viewer. While he likes to do that by experimenting with zooming and repeating figures in images, his advice is far-reaching for any art form.

"Do what you love to do, and go with the flow of your heart," Pinhassi says. "It will guide you."

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