Dennis Manarchy’s 35-Foot-Long Camera May Be Coming to Your State Soon


posted Friday, March 23, 2012 at 11:09 AM EST

In a world where cameras are getting smaller and smaller every day, it's good to know that someone still thinks big; really, really big.

For the last ten years, photographer Dennis Manarchy has been building a 35-foot-long camera, by hand. As shown in the photos to the right and below, the camera is the size of a small apartment.

This whopper of a camera will use film and its negatives are 4.5x6, as in feet, not inches. These negatives are so large Manarchy uses an actual window for a lightbox.

He plans to make 24-foot tall prints of his subjects that will have extraordinary detail. The prints made from the immense camera’s huge negatives will capture his subject’s every eyelash, pore, wart, mole and wrinkle. It won't be, perhaps, the most charming portraiture ever but these larger-than-life-sized images will certainly be startling and different. Considering the size of the camera relative to the sitter, I suspect Manarchy's images will also record many nervous and intimidated expressions.
Manarchy says when shooting with such a large camera, there are no retakes. Each portrait will be made in one shot and everything will have to be planned to the smallest detail beforehand.

Although he is still looking for funding to complete the camera, it is only fitting that a man who could conceive and build a gigantic camera should have big plans for it. Manarchy says that when the mammoth camera is completed he wants to load it in a semi and set out on the road.

His plan is to travel across the vastness of America, to all 50 states, taking photographs along the way that will tell the story of America. In a grand project, he calls “Vanishing Cultures,” he plans to photograph people who will represent the cultures that have defined and created the country. Then at journey’s end, Manarchy will print gargantuan 24-foot-tall photographs that with be displayed in stadiums and other large venues across America. 
Manarchy’s massive camera is certainly amazing but it won’t go into the record books as the largest film camera ever made by a long shot. That honor goes to The Great Picture! Project. In September, 2007 artists from the Art Center of Design in Pasadena, California turned a wind tunnel into a 45x169x80 foot pinhole camera that made a photograph 111-feet long by 32-feet tall. (See image below.)

(Via Oddity Central)