My image 'The Popular End' is stitched together from 600 photos from an 18 megapixel camera; making a 4.1 gigapixel image. If it was printed at the biggest size in high quality photo resolution, it would be 20 meters long.  More importantly, there are lots of interesting things to be seen in the detail - over 300 people climbing and walking along the edge.

In 2013, I decided to try printing one, and see what would happen.

The first challenge was to find a space.  The Sheffield Adventure Film Festival is held at the Showroom cinema in Sheffield, and the organiser gave me a 7.5m wall to use. A good start.

The next step was working out how to print the thing at a reasonable cost.  At an unlimited cost, anything is possible, however I was looking for a balance to display the quality of the image, without breaking the bank.

My local printers, Pinders in Sheffield had a machine that could print at good photo quality (300dpi) off a 1m wide reel of paper.  So I optimised the image to be 1x7.5m.

A photo frame this size would be ridiculous, and a paper print would be prone to ripping if not handled perfectly, so they recomended a board called Kappa to mount it on.  The board only comes in 2.8m lengths, so reluctantly I had to agree to a 3-part printing.  I also decided on laminating the print, for make it more robust.

Mounting it on the wall was the next challenge.  Velcro was an option, but in the end we went for double-sided carpet tape onto a series of battens attached to the picture rail.  It went up quickly and looked great.

Unfortunately over the course of the exhibition, the boards warped and peeled off the tape, which at one point resulted in one of the panels faliing down.  It was hard to predict this when putting it up, everything seem solid and perfect.  I was completely gutted at the time, to have gone to all that effort only to fail because of a choice of materials.  I had looked hard to find the best way to produce it, but I think the combination off Kappa and lamination was the issue, and I should have gone for pvc board instead.  Another big lesson is to never rely on adhesives.  Since then I have had lab produced aluminium and acrylic prints fall off the wall due to adhesive failure over time (thanks Photobox!).  In the future, its always going to be nails, screws and wood to hold things up. 

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