Interview with Jörg Dietrich, the man behind the PanoramaStreetline project.
Who are you?
I am Jörg Dietrich, creator of linear streetline panoramas. I’m the person behind the PanoramaStreetline.com project. I grew up in the GDR before the German reunification, and I have studied in Bayreuth, London and Leipzig, where I am living now. I studied something that is somehow not at all connected to my work: biology.
Where do you call ‘home’ and what do you like about it?
Definitely Leipzig. As soon as I arrived here after my time in London in 2001, I immediately knew this is the place to live in. It’s not too big, not too expensive, has everything you need, offers lots of opportunities and over the years I have learned to love the fact that the city is an ever-changing process itself. Which does not exclude me from being against some changes here and there…
Describe your favourite place to work and the view out the window.
Well you wouldn’t want to see my absolutely overcrowded workplace and there is not much of a view either. It’s much more relaxing to work on a train like I am doing right now.
Where do you find inspiration? Where do you ‘get lost’?
Every time I travel and walk through cities, inspiration is all around. However, often I just search for city images on the internet and can jump from place to place thinking about how these could be looking in streetlines. This is the way I also plan in-between stops on my trips, going to cities I have often never heard about before. Years ago when I was still studying and therefore allowed to access the opera more cheaply, that was an incredible inspiration to me. To me, in opera (and ballet), you do not need to concentrate on the story, but can sink into the musical and visual images. That releases so many thoughts and ideas in your head. Actually, I should do that more often again…
What is your favourite way to get around?
Trains. You can relax, read, and work in comfortable surroundings. Planes too, but only for getting someplace quicker. Cars are great for flexibility in just stopping by in a city you drive by, and for the great soundtracks you can listen to (although cars are not preferable in bigger cities).
Describe a trend in your industry, or in society more generally, that fascinates you.
Compromises. When I was younger I used to think that I understood much of the way the world runs. Then I thought it is pretty easy to solve problems: to stop over-population, some socialist ideas, ecology and so on. Nowadays, I feel like un-compromising ideas are often the worst. You learn a lot about people, get to know all kinds of perspectives and expectations, and that you are in a very complicated and complex world. I now mistrust people who think they know the easy solutions. Which of course doesn’t rule out that there are also things not to be compromised.
Name your favourite spot to hang out when you’re off work.
Having kids and being self-employed literally means you have NO time off. EVER. So it must be hanging out with the kids then. I go for the Leipzig Zoo with them, which is rather spectacular actually.
What’s your favourite city?
That is most likely London, still. For all the known reasons. So I’d rather try to name a few cities that can take you by surprise and are not really on anybody’s travel list… Karlovy Vary (or Karlsbad) a Czech city with the grandeur of a former spa heaven; you can just marvel at its beauty. Glasgow, the largest Scottish city, offers almost everything one could expect; you only need to actually visit it. Honfleur in the French Normandy is as cosy and charming as an old ‘has been’ harbour city can be.
Name one object you cannot live without.
My photo camera; it’s quite obvious isn’t it?
What’s the most exciting thing you’ve got coming up this week?
I am right now travelling through France and Switzerland to photograph Marseille and Lyon (and some other cities) for a crowdfunding project we got funded last December. So the excitement level is pretty high this week!
Can you please share your vision with us?
First, I thought I’d tell you that going to vote is really important and then I thought that is a really boring statement. But thinking about it for a few days, and after the Brexit result, I am going to say just that. Look at Hungary, look at Poland, look at Brexit, where the areas with the lowest voting participation had the higher rates of ‘stay in the EU’ voters. You might think the voting options are not great, but there are always much worse sides that could actually win the vote. I could go on about the need to have compromises in politics now… Well instead let me just finish with one of my favourite quotes, one that always reminds me to reconsider things:
“Just for the sake of it make sure you’re always frowning. It shows the world that you’ve got substance and depth.” – Miserablism, Pet Shop Boys
Make of this whatever you want!