PHOTOGRAPHY: Museum ‘painted with light’ for unique portrait

Posted on October 17th, 2009 by americanindiannews in Past News

Under a rainy night sky in late September, more than 800 people shone flashlights on the golden exterior of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

Credit Rochester Institute of Technology Big Shot. The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian lit on the exterior by more than 800 people holding flashlights and other light sources.  Click photo for full resolution version.

Credit Rochester Institute of Technology Big Shot. The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian lit on the exterior by more than 800 people holding flashlights and other light sources. Click photo for full resolution version.

The husband and wife team of Bill DuBois and Dawn Tower DuBois,  the photographers from the Rochester (N.Y.) Institute of Technology, perched atop 15 feet of scaffolding to take aim at the five-year-old museum building. Interior lights burned and rain glistened on the plaza. The Washington Monument loomed in the distance.

Every year, the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Big Shot project photographs a landmark building or location using hundreds of carefully aimed flashlights and camera flash units to create a magical image. The resulting photo is often called a “painting with light” because the institute’s photographers shoot a single extended exposure of 20-30 seconds.

Since 1987, photographs have included the U.S.S. Intrepid, the Royal Palace in Stockholm and the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, N.Y. View past Big Shot photographs at www.rit.edu/bigshot

Bill Destler, Rochester Institute of Technology’s president, declared the museum’s flagship building on the National Mall to be a “national landmark.”

Jason Younker, who is Coquille and assistant to the institute’s provost for Native American relations, stood with museum Director Kevin Gover in front of the building to provide perspective.

“We’re two shadows standing up front,” Younker said. “When I returned home, I showed my daughters the photo. I think it turned out fantastic.”

– American Indian News Service

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