AUGUST 5, 2007 – IRVINE, California – In official certificates issued July, 2007 in London, Guinness states: “The largest camera was created from an airplane hanger measuring 13.71 x 48.76 x 24.38 m (45 x 160 x 80 ft). The camera produced a photograph on canvas measuring 9.62 x 33.83 m (31ft 7in x 111ft). The attempt was organized by The Legacy Project at the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, California, USA in June 2006.”
In addition to acknowledging the photograph as a remarkable object, the six artists view The Great Picture as an exclamation point at the end of the film-based era, a marker at the crossing where photography moves away from film and into pixels.
Art Center College of Design, South Campus Wind Tunnel, Pasadena, California
Artists: Jerry Burchfield, March Chamberlain, Jacques Garnier, Rob Johnson, Douglas McCulloh, Clayton Spada
Opening Reception and Performance
Thursday, September 6, 2007, 6:00–9:00 p.m.
Artists’ Lecture: a chance-driven conversation://the beginning of photography/ the end of photography
Thursday, September 20, 2007, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Additional Special Event
Orange County Great Park: Growing a Park of the 21st Century
Monday, September 17, 2007, 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
- Ken Smith: WORKSHOP; Ken Smith Landscape Architecture • Mia Lehrer: Mia Lehrer + Associates
- Tim Dumbleton: Ten Arquitectos
- Byron Stigge: Burro Happold
- Paul Schimmel: Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Exhibition Hours: Tuesday-Friday noon to 9:00 p.m., Saturday noon to 6:00 p.m.
Location: Art Center College of Design, South Campus 950 S. Raymond Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91105
The Great Picture was created over the nine months leading up to July 2006 by six well- known photographic artists collectively known as The Legacy Project, aided by 400 volunteers, artists, and experts. Working in their jet-hangar-transformed-into-camera, the group hand-applied 80 liters of gelatin silver halide emulsion to a seamless 3,375-square-foot canvas substrate custom-made in Germany. Development was done in a custom Olympic pool-sized developing tray using ten high volume submersible pumps and 1,800 gallons of black and white chemistry. The premier exhibition at Art Center College of Design, South Campus, will feature The Great Picture along with videos and photographs in an environment designed to re-create the dramatic atmosphere within the jet-hangar-as-camera where the giant photograph was made.
The Great Picture has been featured in hundreds of publications from art journals such as Art
in America, Photographie, AfterImage, Juxtapoz, and Black & White Magazine to newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Der Spiegel and The Guardian. A hardcover book on the project, now in production, will be released in 2008. In addition, the Guinness Book of Records pre-approved and is now evaluating applications in two categories: world’s largest photograph and camera.
The photograph shows the control tower, structures and runways at the heart of the shuttered 4,700-acre Marine Corps Air Station El Toro in Southern California, shut down in the base closings of the mid-1990s. Once home to U.S. Marine Corps air operations for the western United States and Pacific region (including Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and the Middle East), El Toro is now being turned into housing and one of the largest urban parks in the western United States.
Contact the Artists
Jerry Burchfield • 714.292.6170 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Chamberlain • 949.697.5237 • email@example.com
Jacques Garnier • 714.402.0308 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Rob Johnson • 714.310.4816 • email@example.com
Douglas McCulloh • 323.309.8076 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Clayton Spada • 714.306.5868 • email@example.com
Great Picture Facts
Finished Size: 107’-5″ x 31’-5″; 3,375 square feet.
Photograph type: Black and white negative image with a gelatin sizing and a hand-coated gelatin silver emulsion.
Subjects Depicted: The Marine Corps Air Station El Toro control tower, twin runways, and heart of the future Orange County Great Park, with a backdrop of the San Joaquin Hills and the Laguna Beach Wilderness.
Camera: Building #115, an F-18 fighter plane hangar at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, Irvine, California.
Camera Size: 44’-2″ feet high by 79’-6″ feet deep by 161’-6″ feet wide.
Materials To Darken Hanger: 24,000 square feet of six mil black viscuine; 1,300 gallons foam gap filler; 1.52 miles of two-inch wide black gorilla tape; 40 cans of black spray paint.
Fabric Substrate: Seamless unbleached muslin specially ordered from Germany and weighing 1,200 pounds rigged.
Aperture Size: One-quarter inch (6mm) pinhole fifteen feet above ground level-no lens or other optics.
Emulsion: 80 liters of Rockland Liquid Light-a gelatin silver black and white sensitizer hand-painted onto the fabric under safelight illumination. Emulsion applied on July 7, 2006.
Exposure: 35 minutes beginning at 11:30 a.m. July 8, 2006 Date of Development: July 8, 2006
Developing Materials: 600 gallons traditional black-and-white developer and 1,200 gallons fixer delivered by ten high-volume submersible pumps.
Developing Tray: Eight mil vinyl pool liner contained by a wooden sidewall-114 feet x 35 feet x 6 inches deep.
Print Wash: Twin 4.5 inch fire hoses connected to a pair of hydrants tested at 750 gallons- per-minute.
The World’s Largest Photograph
Controversies About Meaning
“The photograph is not a picture of something, but is an object about something,” states influential Southern California artist and longtime UCLA professor Robert Heinecken.
What the Great Picture is “about” has proven to be a controversial question. From the time it was created in July, 2006, the Great Picture has generated discussion-even lively debate- with respect to what it signifies. In fact, the lively discourse about the Great Picture’ s meaning is a sign that this singular photograph has importance beyond just its unprecedented scale, strange beauty, and popular appeal.
Here are some of the ideas most forcefully put forth about the Great Picture in the ten months since its development in a darkened Southern California jet hanger.
- The Great Picture-the ultimate traditional gelatin-silver black-and-white photograph-not only operates at the heart of the 168-year tradition of film-based photography, but in fact signals a coming Renaissance of film-based photography.
- The Great Picture encapsulates the history of vision machines and is a crystalline example of their power in modern society. The Great Picture was made using the oldest of image technologies-a lens-less pinhole camera obscura, discovered by the Chinese and noted by Aristotle. But the image metamorphosed into digital guises immediately. Intense media coverage and hundreds of involved image-makers spread The Great Picture around the globe in pixel form within minutes of completion.
- The Great Picture is a marker of decisive change as the 168-year film/chemistry dominance of photography gives way to the digital era. The scale of the undertaking and of the image reinforce The Great Picture’ s position as a milestone that acknowledges the past while signaling photography’s move away from film and into pixels.
- The Great Picture operates across the rupture between painting and photography. The hand-applied photosensitive emulsion and hand-processed quality bring the image full-circle back to photography’s earliest technologies, while creating an object that is half painting, half photographic image. In both concept and appearance, The Great Picture bridges the gap between the painting and photography.
- The Great Picture portrays the heart of Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, thus engaging with U.S. military history and memorializing the most contentious land use fight in Southern California history-the battle over whether to make the base into an international airport or a giant metropolitan park.
- The Great Picture is an object made for the least complicated of reasons-the possibility was
there. A group of artists found themselves with the opportunity to climb what looked to be a very large and interesting mountain, so they set out on the journey. All other considerations- the deep implication of both digital and traditional technologies, the employment of a pinhole camera obscura, the hand-painting of the photosensitive emulsion-were merely attempts to find the clearest path up the mountain.