One of my alternative routes to work takes me past the little-known motocross track near to Corhampton in Hampshire. Its serpentine convolutions are laid out on a hillside and I’ve often thought that it would make a good subject for a graphic and unusual landscape. However, there is no one place where you can stand and see the whole track. There are some bushes that spoil the pattern, the curve on the facing hill obscures the track for a long shot and you lose the knotted shape when up close with a wide shot. So it seemed to me that this might be a good candidate to make as a joiner.
It’s been a while since I photographed and produced a joiner. This has been partly because I’ve been making images using different techniques, partly because the subject matter would not work as a joiner, but mainly because they take so much time to produce. This image was originally shot back in May and it is only recently that I got around to getting the small prints made to allow me to build the picture by hand.
Let me run you through the numbers. After walking around the site considering how I would take the pictures, it took me about 25 minutes to shoot the almost 300 pictures that might be used as cells for the finished image. I knew that most of the successful joiners that I’ve made in the past are made up of somewhere around 50 to 100 cells, so you need to shoot plenty in reserve. To build the image I made up several A3 size sheets of 50X50 mm thumbnails. It probably took a couple of hours to cut these all up and to number them on the reverse. Then another hour to assemble the prototype joiner from all of these miniature prints. The digital final took about an hour and a half to build using a combination of Lightroom and Photoshop, so somewhere around five hours in all to make one picture. Had I made this picture at full resolution it would be a 768 megapixel image, which if printed at high quality would be around eight feet square. Now, that would fill the landing and stairway… Even at a more manageable size of 400X400mm the working file size in Photoshop was almost 1GB, which thankfully reduced to 130MB when flattened. I’m sure there is a lot I could do to improve the process but even so you can’t quickly produce a large portfolio of joiners.