Bring The Great Picture to New Orleans
Seven hot summer nights ago in 2006, two photographer friends, Kathleen Laria McLaughlin and Amanda Keller Konya and I drove an hour south to an abandoned Air Force base in Southern California. We arrived to a buzz of activity, bullhorns, and the anticipation that we were about to help with the creation of the largest photograph ever made. We knew it was going to be a special night.
The Great Picture is the world’s largest photograph, a history-making image three stories high by eleven stories wide. The photograph was made using a shuttered Southern California F-18 jet aircraft hangar transformed into a gigantic camera obscura—the largest camera ever made. It’s a grand statement — a final monumental black-and-white photograph made at the point photography transitions from film to pixels.
The Great Picture was created over the nine months leading up to that evening in July 2006 by six well-known photographic artists collectively known as The Legacy Project : Jerry Burchfield, Mark Chamberlain, Jacques Garnier, Rob Johnson, Douglas McCulloh, and Clayton Spada. The Legacy Project photographers were assisted by 400 volunteers, artists, and experts. We were assigned jobs and began working in their jet-hangar-transformed-into-camera. The group hand-applied 80 liters of black and white 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. It was a remarkable night producing a historical masterpiece that has an ongoing legacy.
The New Orleans photographic community including The New Orleans Photo Alliance, Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, The American Society of Media Photographers New Orleans/Gulf South Chapter and Photo NOLA are working together with the Legacy Project to bring The Great Picture to the city for PhotoNOLA 2013, to be displayed at the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans….and they need our help. The costs of packing, transporting, and installing this massive testament to the wet darkroom are staggering. So they have created an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds. If you support this project, plan to attend Photo NOLA, or just love New Orleans, please consider a donation here.
Images from the creation of The Great Picture
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