Photography is in NOLA's veins.
Exhibiting the world's largest photograph at PhotoNOLA continues New Orleans' powerful engagement with photography. In 1840 Jules Lion brought the daguerreotype to New Orleans when he opened one of the first photographic portrait studios in North America. Having learned the process directly from Louis Daguerre (the eponymous inventor of the daguerreotype process), Lion saw the potential of the process and helped spark the "daguerreotype revolution" in America. While there are no verifiable dags that can be attributed to Lion, his legacy and spirit lives on here in NOLA in places like A Gallery of Fine Photography (which opened in 1975 and is one of the oldest galleries in the U.S. dealing exclusively in photography) and The New Orleans Museum of Art (which houses a photo collection comprising of over 10,000 prints)
With this in mind, The New Orleans Photo Alliance, Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, The American Society of Media Photographers New Orleans/Gulf South Chapter and The Legacy Project are working together to bring The Great Picture to the city for PhotoNOLA 2013.
What is the Great Picture?
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 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 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.
Why NOLA and PhotoNOLA?
The Great Picture is magnetic and inspirational (just like New Orleans) and it will pull together the community and have the dangerous effect of inspiring everyone to think big. Of course thinking big is what New Orleans is all about. With an expansive creative community, New Orleans has become a hotbed of artists, collectors, scholars and entrepreneurs. It has been shown from Art Center in Los Angeles to the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, drawing thousands of visitors. Now it's New Orleans' turn.
The Great Picture at PhotoNOLA 2013 will be a landmark exhibition of a landmark photograph. PhotoNOLA is now in its 8th year and is already a preeminent, internationally recognized photo festival. Bringing The Great Picture here to the city further cements PhotoNOLA's reputation as an active partner in the photography community both here in the Gulf Coast region and nationwide.
When the opportunity to bring The Great Picture to NOLA arose we thought: "How can we make this happen?" From that point onward, seemingly overwhelming odds and a host of discouraging logistical and technical issues simply ceased to hold any sway over the determination to extract what is possible from the improbable.
The Great Picture is more than the physical artifact labeled as “the world’s largest photograph;" it is a tangible expression of the human spirit. What better place than New Orleans to make this point?
Great, how can I help?
Well, we have already raised $7,000 to cover the 40-foot over-the-road truck from Los Angeles, forklifts and boom lifts, crating and equipment. Now we need to fund rigging, custom lighting, special exhibition production, travel expenses (and plenty of odds and ends). This is no ordinary photograph. It weighs 1,800 pounds and will require many hands to install; exhibitions are akin to heavy construction.
So you can help by donating of course, but you can also help by simply spreading the word for us and sharing this campaign with your friends and neighbors.
Who are the folks behind this?
The Legacy Project Team:
Jerry Burchfield (d. 2009) was known as an environmental artist who among his other numerous awards was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts award. Internationally known and loved, he used traditional and alternative applications of photography, light painting, performance, video, extended documentation and dedicated himself to long term projects in an on-going effort to make work that documented change over time, created an awareness of natural beauty, and addressed humanity's teetering relationship with nature.
Owner and director of BC Space, the longest standing photographic gallery in Southern California, Mark Chamberlain is an artist, curator and writer who has focused on environmental issues throughout the southland. Exhibited and collected world-wide, his projects include the Laguna Canyon Project, Future Fossils and Looking for 2000 as well as numerous books and publications.
Photographer, artist, lecturer and documentarian, Jacques Garnier has concentrated on the urban distribution of the American landscape and as importantly, man's relationship to his environment - be it physical or psychological. He has co-authored a number of books and has an exhibition record that includes the Smithsonian, LACMA, Southeast Museum of Photography and CAFA in Beijing.
Douglas McCulloh is a photographer, writer, and curator who lives in Southern California. He is the author of five books and has an international exhibition record that includes Victoria and Albert Museum, London: Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing: Musée de l'Elyée, Lausanne: Musée Nicéphore Niépce, France; La Triennale di Milano, Italy; and Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City. He is an honors graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara and holds an MFA from Claremont Graduate University.
Photographer, musician, printmaker and educator, Robert Johnson personal work is largely landscape based and explores how reality is perceived and sometimes altered through photography. He is currently the department chair of Cypress College and has exhibited throughout the United States.
Clayton Spada has exhibited in Britain, Canada, Europe, the People’s Republic of China and the United States, and his works held in several institutional collections, including the Digital Media Studio, University of California, Riverside/California Museum of Photography (UCR/CMP); Doheny Libraries Special Collections, University of Southern California; Fisher Museum of Art, University of Southern California; Guggenheim Gallery, Chapman University, Orange, California; Huan Tie Museum, Beijing, People’s Republic of China; Lehigh University Art Galleries, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Sesthasak Boonchai, is an artist, educator and premedia specialist based in New Orleans, LA. He has taught at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, Tulane University , The University of New Orleans and The School of Visual Arts in New York. His work has been featured in exhibitions at The Mississippi Museum of Art, The New Orleans Museum of Art, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and The Contemporary Art Center (New Orleans). He has also had a number of solo exhibitions throughout the United States.
Currently he is the Project manager for the IMLS Digitization project at the New Orleans Museum of Art and President of the New Orleans Photo Alliance.
Brian has been involved in many aspects of photography since he was inspired by Antonioni’s film, “Blow-Up,” in the late 1960s. That shallow beginning developed into a passion and ultimately something of a living, primarily as a photographer of travel and workboats, who occasionally bumbles into an image that might be considered art.
I have had the opportunity to stand before the Great Picture and I can say that it is an inspiring and uplifting experience to see the scale and textural quality of the object, and feel Its connection to the birth of photography. Those are only a couple of reasons why I urge you to get involved with bringing the Great Picture to New Orleans so that more people can see and feel and understand that sometimes we create objects that are greater than ourselves.
Steve Legendre is a veteran photographer based in New Orleans. Along with his numerous commercial clients, Steve has been featured in a number of fine art exhibitions and was lead photographer for Martin Marietta Manned Space Systems and for the past 15 years has been photographer for Ochsner Health Systems.
Steve is also the current president of the Gulf Coast Chapter of the ASMP.