The Largest Photograph Ever.
December 22, 2005
Interesting article in the Chicago Tribune about how the Museum of Contemporary Art is fighting to reclaim a photograph from a bankrupt company’s possessions, before it gets auctioned off. It is apparently the fourth-largest bankruptcy in U.S. history — that of the commodities and futures brokerage Refco Inc.
The photograph, Avenue of the Americas, is by Andreas Gursky, and is a monumental 7ft by 11 ft. It shows an entire office block on the Avenue of the Americas in NYC (previously known as 6th Avenue) at night.
Well, lets see you try to hang THAT in your living room!
So, that brings up a question: how big was the largest single film-based photograph ever taken?
Sure, sure, the largest digital photograph is widely reported to be of the city of Delft, Netherlands, and consists of 2.5 giga-pixels. If printed, the image would be 22 ft by 9 ft. But, that doesn’t really c
ount, IMHO, because it was sewn together from 600 smaller photos. There’s also the QUEST, the world’s largest digital camera . . .but I’m talking about a FILM camera. And there was a 900ft image draped around a British department store. However, I’m not convinced that the image is really a photograph as such.
So, assuming that the world’s largest photograph must have been made with the world’s largest camera, I guess the question is really: what’s the world’s largest camera?
George Lawrence is known to have operated a glass-plate camera that was moved around on a railroad car, and required 15 men to operate and produced images that there 4.5ft by 8ft! He also took a famous photograph of San Francisco — with a camera hanging from a train of KITES! Now, THAT’S some technique – and a darned big camera too!
Compared to that, Polaroid’s Moby C, which can take life-sized pictures of people, is a nit — though the Polaroid film is probably a lot easier to process than a giant wet plate!
So, the question remains: what are the world’s largest film cameras, and photographs? Can anyone answer that question for me?