The Legacy Project as they’re known and the creators of “The Great Picture,” Jerry Burchfield, Mark Chamberlain, Jacques Garnier, Rob Johnson, Douglas McCulloh, and Clayton Spada have produced the world’s largest camera which was used to create the world’s largest photograph. The Great Picture, with its ghostly reflection of the shuttered Marine Corps Air Station El Toro made its international debut from March 8 to March 27 at the Art Museum at Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. Five of them told the story of how they made history and communicated with the audience at the venue on March 9, 2011.
Six photographers from the Legacy Project made the world’s largest silver gelatin print using the world’s largest camera, both recognized by the Guinness Book of World’s Records. They proved with their work that Black and White traditional photography isn’t dead. The photograph is a magnificent tribute to a historic turning point in Orange County history as well as a statement about the evolution of the photographic medium, hand versus mechanical/technological processes, and the importance of “vision machines” to the advancement of culture.
Also the Great Picture demanded great quantities of supplies and labor. The group of photographers 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 chemicals. The image is three stories high by eleven stories wide. “It is quite fitting that the Great Picture will have its international debut in China where the camera obscura was first conceived,” said Jacques Garnier, Legacy Project, who is in China for the exhibition along with the Legacy Project team. “The Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing is one of the few museum spaces in the world large enough to fully display this enormous piece of photo history.” Although its journey to China ends now, the stories of the Great Picture with the Legacy will stay here and inspire us in the future.
View the Chinese version of this article here