In the summer of 2006, the biggest Pinhole camera in the world was built in an aircraft hangar in Irvine, California, USA. But it wasn’t just the biggest Pinhole camera ever – It’s also approved by the Guinness Book of Records as being the world’s largest camera of any kind AND it took the largest photo in history! This work of art was called ‘The Great Picture’ – Read on to find out more about the stunning achievement.
The Legacy Project
In 2002, the artists Jerry Burchfield, Mark Chamberlain, Jacques Garnier, Rob Johnson, Douglas McCulloh and Clayton Spada came together and began work on ‘The Legacy Project’. The aim of the project was to document the site of the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro as it was transformed into the USA’s largest metropolitan park, the Orange County Great Park. And in 2006, the Legacy Project artists unveiled the defining work of the project so far. Titled ‘The Great Picture’, the artwork is a massive 3375 square foot pinhole photo depicting the El Toro Control Tower, runways and the San Joaquin Hills in the background.
- The ‘camera’ which was used to take the photo wasn’t a standard one by any means. Rather, it was Building #15, an F-18 fighter plane hangar at the Air Station. This meant that the camera was 44 feet high, 79 feet deep and 161 feet wide!
- The artists, aided by 400 volunteers, turned the hangar into a pinhole camera by darkening it using 24,000 sq. feet of 6mm black viscuine, 1,300 gallons of foam gap filler, 1.52 miles of 2 inch-wide black tape and 40 cans of black spray paint!
- The artists then made a 6mm pinhole in the building 15 feet above ground level.
Taking the Photo
- The 3375 square foot seamless unbleached muslin which the photo was produced on weighs 1,200 pounds rigged.
- Before the photograph was taken, under safe-light conditions, the muslin was hand-painted with 80 liters of a gelatin silver black and white sensitizer.
- The muslin was then exposed to light through the pinhole for 35 minutes beginning at 11:30am July 8th 2006.
The Developing Process
As with everything else regarding ‘The Great Picture’, the developing process was a big project!
- The developing materials were 600 gallons of black and white developer and 1200 gallons of fixer.
- The developing tray measured 114 feet by 35 feet and was 6 inches deep.
- The print wash involved spraying the muslin with twin fire hoses connected to a pair of hydrants which pumped out water at 750 gallons per minute.
‘The Great Picture’ is recognised as the world’s largest photograph and Hangar #15 is recognised as the world’s largest camera.
Read more about the photograph and The Legacy Project at www.legacyphotoproject.com
This is an interview with Rob Johnson, one of the artists who produced ‘The Great Picture’:
With World Pinhole Day coming up on Sunday, so why give Pinhole Photography a go! View the Pinhole Cameras in the Lomography Online Shop