August 26, 2009

NMAI is 2009 Big Shot

Smithsonian's Museum of the American Indian Honored by Big Shot Project

By Hannah BrehmThis year, the Big Shot Project is intended to draw a community together to celebrate the work the NMAI does to preserve and promote Native American culture, to reflect on the beauty of the building in its attempt to mimic the mesas and canyons of the Southwest, and to participate en masse in the creation of a photograph.

On September 26, at 7:45PM participants in the RIT Big Shot Project are expected to arrive outside the museum's main door with a hand-held light source, dressed in dark clothing. There is no entrance fee, or pre-registration. The photograph will be taken at approximately 8:45pm, and volunteers will receive an 8x10 print of the final photograph, courtesy of Nikon.
Big Shot:  HistoryIn December of 1987, the Biomedical Photography department produced the first RIT Big Shot of the Highland Hospital, in downtown Rochester, New York. Dawn Tower-DuBois operated a single 4 x 5 camera loaded with B & W negative film. 37 students and friends of the department attended that event and so began what has become an annual tradition.

The basic principles of the project are quite simple. The picture is made at night using either hand-held electronic flash units or flashlights. When the camera shutter is opened, participants "paint" the subject with light during a timed exposure. Lights are aimed randomly across the scene and the exposure is created over time rather than as a result of one large discharge. All exterior lights are turned off when possible to avoid overexposure, while all interior lights are left on to provide illumination from inside to create a photograph that is both unique and a community event. The lighting is very non-directional when produced this way and often results in a very shadowless quality in certain regions of the scene.

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