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News & Insight

The Vanishing Culture Project with World’s Largest Film Camera

By fotosiamo on December 4th 2012

There is nothing like Dennis Manarchy’s “Eye of America” film camera. This 35-foot custom-built film camera is the largest film camera in the world, and it produces a gigantic 6-foot by 4.5-foot film negative capable of producing 2-story prints with unprecedented resolution. Each negative resolves 1,000x more detail than the highest-end production cameras.

Vanishing Cultures: An American Portrait by Dennis Manarchy from Distortion Design on Vimeo.

The Vanishing Cultures: An American Portrait

However, this super-camera is not for showing off. Manarchy, whose work is part of a permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art, will be using this camera for the most ambitious project of his life, “The Vanishing Cultures: An American Portrait.” Once he and his team completes the traveling version of this camera, Manarchy will travel over 20,000 miles around the United States to record over 50 American cultures. At the end of the journey, Manarchy plans to hold big exhibitions in different parts of the country.

The Vanishing Cultures: An American Portrait from The Vanishing Cultures on Vimeo.

The Vanishing Cultures Project

Created over the past 12 years by visionary Chicago-based photographer Dennis Manarchy, The Vanishing Cultures: An American Portrait will artistically document and commemorate over 50 of our nation’s vanishing cultures through a 20,000-mile nationwide journey with the largest film camera in the world. The project will celebrate the vanishing art of film photography as we approach the 200th anniversary of the invention of the camera, and it will bring attention to the social, cultural, and physical environments of our nation’s diverse people. The resulting nomadic exhibitions will provide a cultural immersion and learning experience unlike any other, and the video documentaries will forever capture and commemorate the unique faces, stories, and regalia of our nation’s most fascinating people.

Below are some of the sample images of test subjects taken with the prototype.

To learn more about this highly ambitious project and see more images taken with the prototype of this camera, please visit

Thanks to ISO1200 for the find!

Thanks to Petapixel for the find.


Joe is a rising fashion and commercial photographer based in Los Angeles, CA. He blends creativity and edge with a strong style of lighting and emotion in his photographs. Be sure to check out his work at and connect with him on Google Plus and on Facebook

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joseph Prusa

    Thanks for sharing

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  2. Cippi

    Another “tip” from that petapixel dumpster, and I’m done with this site.

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  3. Quyen Ba

    Printing paper is easy.  My workplace has 2 commercial UV flatbed printers.  The model is Vutek QS3200.  It can print 10 feet width by any length of rolled paper material, or any length flat material that can be fed through.  These printers are very common in the print industry.   It is the custom-made oversize photography film that would be more difficult, especially quality control at that size. 

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  4. Charles Owen

    So, does he also have an enlarger that can handle a 24 foot print? And, how do you develop a 24 foot print, anyway? Seems like you would end up with trays the size of swimming pools with the consequent amount of chemicals. Who makes 6′ wide film or 24′ long printing paper?

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