This Gigantic Camera Takes Two-Story-Tall Photos

To celebrate the 200th birthday of the invention of the camera, photographer Dennis Manarchy built one of his own. It looks just like a classic film camera with a wooden frame, leatherette, and brass hardware but, oddly, I don’t remember cameras normally being 35-feet long.

Dubbed “The Eye of America,” this enormous, trailer-mounted camera is will snap portraits of notable do-gooders around the country during a 20,000 miles tour of the USA. Despite a large plasma screen mounted on the back end of the camera — so that the public can observe as pictures are taken — it is a real film camera. Its negatives measure 6-feet by 4.5-feet — so big that a building’s windows must be employed as light boxes. According the the photographer, the detail in a single subjects eye is a thousand times greater than the detail in an entire standard negative or digital capture, and for good reason. The negatives need to be big because the resulting portraits will be blown up to two-stories in height.

The set up is so big that Manarchy actually takes the shots from inside the camera using the EoA’s film easel to control the camera’s focus, scale, lights, and all other functions. This 50-state tour is part of Manarchy’s Vanishing Cultures project. [Vanishing Cultures via PetaPixel]