Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum: “The Great Picture”


  • The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center 14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy Chantilly, VA, 20151 United States

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum: "The Great Picture"

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum will exhibit “The Great Picture” at its Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., The 3,375-square-foot photograph of an abandoned El Toro Marine Corps air station in Southern California was taken by the largest pinhole camera in the world. “The Great Picture” is a unique camera obscura black-and-white, gelatin silver, photograph 31 feet high and 107 feet wide. This single mammoth photograph was created in 2006 by a group of six artists—Jerry Burchfield, Mark Chamberlain, Jacques Garnier, Rob Johnson, Douglas McCulloh, and Clayton Spada—along with hundreds of volunteers. They transformed the abandoned F/A-18 fighter jet hangar into a gigantic pinhole camera by darkening and sealing the interior from outside light. A pinhole just under a quarter-inch in diameter was centered between the metal hangar doors to serve as the camera’s aperture. While this particular pinhole camera was recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest, the “camera-obscura” technique has been known for more than 2,000 years.

Visitors can see the photograph now through November 2014 at the museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center located in Chantilly, Va., near Washington Dulles International Airport.