The passion

My passion for cycling has fuelled this project, Riding the Boards surveys cycle velodromes across the United Kingdom, these spaces are a hallowed ground for cyclists.


Competitively the race depends on a good start, it can be won or lost at the first corner. However the curves on the circuit; the corners, the banking, the lines, are the vital parts in the making of a velodrome track. The projects main interest became the view of the first corner, from the start line. Framing the banking and the track surface, taken from a fixed point in each location to form a typographic view of the spaces. The wooden boards that bear marks and scars from racing became highlighted in these images, these “memories”- the marks left on the surface, become tracing imprints that then have the telling signs physically in the victory and loss of the sport.

The process

The project was shot with using a 10x8” large format view camera. (A Toyo Field Camera), and shot on Ilford Delta 100 film. I find this beautiful fine grain film perfect for capturing all the minute detail in the wooden boards textures.

The whole process is very traditional in the photographic sense, from shooting with a plate camera that requires a cloak to view the ground glass screen. Through to hand processing the film in a dip and dunk processing tank, to then using a large format enlarger and printing the images to their full potential on MULTIGRADE FB Classic Gloss at 20x24” in the darkroom. I printed proofs on the resin coated paper selecting which images would make the final cut , and then for the actual prints used the fibre based stock.

A lot of love and care goes into shooting something this meticulous, but also the process itself becomes part of the reason behind the project. The physical slowing down and framing the image upside down with a loupe, to using a light meter to calculate the exposure. It's a stark difference to some of my commercial work with super tight turnarounds and near instant delivery through ftp servers.

Darkroom prints on the gallery wall Photographer Matt Ben Stone

Darkroom prints on the wall

All images © Matt Ben Stone