On Sunday, January 29, through May 7, the Great Park Artists Studios will host The Great Picture: Making The World’s Largest Photograph.

The image taken at the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station is widely recognized internationally, as the curators sought to create the largest black and white photo ever. 

Depicting a sectional panoramic view of the control tower and runways at the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station in Irvine, the world’s largest photograph is making its way back to the Great Park. Officially known as ‘The Great Picture’ the image measures 32 feet tall and 111 feet wide.  

 A group called The Legacy Project Collaborative captured the image by transforming a military aircraft hangar at the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station into the world’s largest pinhole camera. Specifically, the curators sought to use a photography phenomenon known as camera obscura, in which light is used to imprint the image on a surface. 

Building #115, a former F-18 Fighter Jet hanger, was enlisted for this project. Captured on a custom 3,375 foot canvas, the project required the application of 80 liters of gelatin silver halide emulsion, along with the help of dozens of volunteers and artists.

The final image was taken with a six-millimeter aperture, developed in an olympic sized-pool developing tray using, “600 gallons of developer and 1,200 gallons of fixer,” according to the Legacy Project’s website. 

Starting in 2002, The Legacy Project Collaborative — Jerry Burchfield, Mark Chamberlain, Jacques Garnier, Rob Johnson, Douglas McCulloh, and Clayton Spada, were given access to El Toro for the purpose of art-historical documentation. The Legacy Project has documented more than 1,800 structures on the former marine base, submitting more than 150,000 photographs to date.  

Great Park Artists Studios is open on Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The Great Park is located at 8000 Great Park Blvd.

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