How to fit 50 people in a room that can accommodate 12? / by Niels Ackermann

Last year, Tatyana Franck asked me to photograph her team at Musée de l’Elysée for their 2019 greeting card. But she also added two challenges!

First: she wanted to show their collection. A temperature and humidity controlled room where priceless prints are carefully stored. To keep these parameters constant, not more than 12 people are allowed at the same time in the room.

Second: she couldn’t guarantee to be there as she was expecting her child’s birth around the same date.

I love these kinds of challenges! Finding a way around them often brings fun ideas and solutions.

In this case, we decided to shoot the picture in five different steps, dividing the team into small groups doing absurd things in the different alleys of the collection. The final result would be then assembled in Photoshop to form a panoramic view of the whole scene.

A test image shot using my phone and quickly assembled to test the feasibility of the concept and identify a few technical issues.

A test image shot using my phone and quickly assembled to test the feasibility of the concept and identify a few technical issues.

This approach solved the first problem. With ten people max on every shot plus one assistant and me, we were never more than twelve in the room.

 

To cope with the possible absence of the museum director, we prepared a cardboard double. It proved useful as she was indeed unable to attend the shoot.

I’m curious to see what they do now with this bidimensional Tatyana Franck. 😅

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This is where the serious business begins

Now that everything was ready (plus a few measurements and disassembling two entire shelves full of fragile prints), the actual shoot could start. You can see a timelapse showing how I assembled everything. It was especially difficult near the boxes on the right side as the perspective changes a lot between them. But unless you’re pixel peeping you may not see too most of my mistakes.

The end result is a 32926 x 6464 pixels image (aka ~213mpix).

You can click to see the image bigger. © Niels Ackermann / Lundi13

Who will come with another challenge like this now?