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BTS: Building and Using the Largest Film Camera in the World


Here’s an update on photographer Dennis Manarchy‘s Vanishing Cultures project, which we featured at the beginning of the year. Manarchy has just released the new video above that sheds some light on how the idea came about and how everything came together. After building the world’s biggest film camera, Manarchy has been using the “largest-format camera” to document 50 different cultures all across the United States in an epic 20,000-mile road trip. The resulting portraits will be displayed in an equally epic exhibition titled “The Vanishing Cultures: An American Portrait.”

Just as a reminder, Manarchy’s 35-foot-long camera exposes images on massive 6-foot negatives, which can then be used to make prints that are two stories tall:

A photo showing the size of the 6×4.5-foot negatives
A mockup showing the size of the final prints

This map shows the different cultures that Manarchy is using his camera to document:

Manarchy has been uploading completed photos to the project’s website gallery, where the images can also be viewed in high resolution:

At the end of the project, once Manarchy has created all of the giant prints, he’s planning to hold exhibitions for the photos all across the country — the description sounds a bit like a rock band tour:

The Exhibition will be an awe-inspiring collection of photography, film, performance, and state-of-the-art effects housed within a massive nomadic tent that will visit sites across the Unites States. Millions of attendees will witness a visual and cultural experience unlike anything seen before. Interactive displays, holograms, smoke walls, projections, sound and light shows, 24-foot portrait prints, waterfall imagery, an interior theater for documentary viewings… This incredible venue will bring people together in an entirely new way to celebrate our history and promote cultural awareness as we continue to evolve as One Nation.

You can find out more about the project and follow along with it through its official website.

The Vanishing Cultures (via ISO 1200)

Image credits: Video and photographs by Dennis Manarchy