It’s hard to explain this piece. I shot Ryan Lloyds’s epic 360 lookback a couple years ago. It was just a regular summer’s evening and Ryan was hitting the stratosphere of every lip as usual. But it was very dark and I never much cared for any of the shots.
Then earlier this year I started sifting through old files looking for new ideas and singled out this one. I loved Ryan’s clicked-in lookback but hated the overall composition of the shot. Time to play in the sandbox.
I started by masking out Ryan and his bike from the background. It can be a laborious process with busy backgrounds like this but I relish the challenge. It was during this process that the pop-up book concept crept up on me and took hold.
I started by shooting an open book from several angles before going with the finished viewpoint. I then masked out the book and created a very simple background using only the gradient tool and fibres filter. I wanted the viewer to be drawn into the book and not distracted by anything behind or around it – it's for this reason that I also kept the light source somewhat ambiguous. I'd realized the only way to make this image convincing would be to get the physics right, meaning it would have to work physically in the real world as a pop-up book. To this end I downloaded a few books on the art of said subject and even created a working scale model to get my head around it. That's the short version anyway.