AFABW Int Awards The Legacy Project and The Great Picture

The Great Picture

September 6, 2007: Pasadena, CA – The Art Center College of Design hosted the Inaugural Exhibition of The Great Picture, at the South Campus Wind Tunnel.

The Great Picture qualifies for two categories in The Guinness Book of World Records: “The World’s Largest Photograph” and “The World’s Largest Camera.” At three stories high and eleven stories wide, The Great Picture was taken with a purpose-built camera: a jet aircraft hanger converted to an enormous “camera obscura” in Orange County.

The image itself is a panoramic view of a portion of the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro that is destined to become the heart of the Orange County Great Park, which will be one of the largest urban parks in the United States. The El Toro Air Station was closed in 1999 and the hanger was temporarily converted to a camera in 2006 and the photograph itself was recorded for 35 minutes on July 8, 2006.

The Great Picture was produced over a nine month period by the six photographic artists of The Legacy Project with support from the hundreds of individuals, businesses, and sponsors necessary to make the project possible.

The photograph is a magnificent tribute to a historic turning point in Orange County history as well as a statement about the evolution of the photographic medium – “hand” versus “mechanical/technological” processes – and the importance of “vision machines” to the advancement of culture.

The exhibition at the Art Center College of Design featured videos of the production of The Great Picture, photographs of the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, a “Time Line” depiction of photographic artists through the history of the art, as well as the massive Great Picture itself.

The following speakers gave presentations in honor of The Great Picture as well as The Legacy Project, who are the six photographic artists who conceived the image and organized all the volunteers and resources to bring it to life.

  • Larry Agran: Chairman of the Great Park Corporation, City of Irvine Councilmember, and the person who many consider the “Father” of the Great Park.
  • Darryl Curran: Artist, former Chair of the Art Dept at CSU Fullerton, and mentor of many of the members of the Legacy Project.
  • Meg Linton: Director of the Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis College of Art & Design.
  • Dennis Keeley, Chair of the Photography Dept. at Art Center Colege of Design.
  • Jonathan Green: Artist, Author, and Director of the UCR/California Museum of Photography in Riverside.
  • Mac Holbert: Co-Founder of Nash Editions and a digital photography pioneer.
  • Additionally, President of Artists For A Better World International, George Alger, presented the “Largest Artists For A Better World International Award to the creators of the largest photograph in the world.”

The recipients of the award comprise The Legacy Project photographic artists:

  • Jerry Burchfield
  • Mark Chamberlain
  • Jacques Garnier
  • Rob Johnson
  • Douglas McCulloh
  • Clayton Spada

The Artists For A Better World International Award states:

“The Legacy Project is hereby Very Highly Commended for the vision, initiative, leadership and execution of THE GREAT PICTURE, a history-making photograph created with the support of 400 volunteers, artists, experts and sponsors, all led by the six photographic artists who comprise The Legacy Project.

“In addition to the magnitude of the camera (a jet aircraft hangar), and the photograph (measuring three stories high and eleven stories wide), THE GREAT PICTURE serves as a monument to the tradition of photography as a medium for historical documentation, as well as artistic expression, and also serves as a monument to the technology of image creation itself.

“THE GREAT PICTURE memorializes the service and history of the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro (decommissioned in 1999), and utilizes an historical image creation technology – camera obscura – which traces its roots back thousands of years. Furthermore, the film and chemicals used to process THE GREAT PICTURE represent the primary medium of photography since the 19th century. Finally, the newer digital photographic technology is reflected in the numerous ways the scope of this project has been relayed to others around the globe.

“Artists For A Better World International acknowledges and honors artists who share a vision of creating a better world through aesthetics, and recognizes The Legacy Project and all its supporters for their selfless dedication and use of their creative abilities to serve a greater good for the betterment of others.”

The Great Picture is one aspect of an ongoing non-profit project to document the transformation of the decomissioned El Toro Marine Corps Air Station into the Orange County Great Park. The Legacy Project began their work in April 2002 and will continue through 2015 as the park is created. The project will employ photos, videos and oral histories to provide a unique record of an extraordinary development in the history of Southern California. More information about The Great Picture and The Legacy Project is available at