The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Calling all Flashlights!
In December of 1987, professors William DuBois and Michael Peres of the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology organized a small event to teach students about electronic flash photography. After dark, a 4x5 camera was set up in front of the city of Rochester’s Highland Hospital. The shutter was held open for a 30-seconds exposure while 37 students, faculty and friends set off camera flash units to illuminate the building. Since that cold night in 1987, the picture project, known as the “Big Shot” has become a yearly RIT tradition. In its early years the organizers planned locally, capturing Rochester landmarks. Eventually the project travelled to Texas for the Alamo and eventually made international ventures to Stockholm, Sweden and Dubrovnik, Croatia. Participation has ranged from 50 to 1,200 people. This September, RIT is coming to Washington D.C. to capture its 25th Big Shot, at the National Museum of the American Indian. “What drew us to the structure was its unique architecture, the color and the texture of the stone, and the museum’s location on the National Mall,” said Dawn Tower-DuBois, professor at RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf and a Big Shot coordinator. The event is a perfect way for the museum to celebrate its fifth anniversary on the mall. Come join the fun! Date: Saturday, September 26 Time: Arrive at 7:45 PM Place: Meet outside the National Museum of the American Indian Bring: Wear dark clothing and bring a flashlight or camera flash unit. The use of laser beams is prohibited. Preregistration is not required. Participants will receive a complimentary 8 x10 color print of the photograph courtesy of Nikon Inc, USA.
Christin Boggs, Intern, Smithsonian Photography Initiative