WXXI captures the making of the 2011 Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Big Shot, and shares stories from past years of this photography project.
Produced by WXXI and shot in high definition, The RIT Big Shot: Painting with Light, airing Monday, March 19 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV/HD (DT21.1/cable 1011 and 11), documents the history of this annual nighttime photography project. The 2011 Big Shot took place at the National Museum of Play at The Strong. Photographed on the evening of May 5, 2011, more than 1,000 volunteers convened at the museum and used flash lights to “paint the building with light” as photographers from RIT’s School of Photographic Arts and Sciences captured the scene using an open shutter and the dramatic technique of timed exposure.
What started as a project to get RIT’s School of Photographic Arts and Sciences’ students excited about electronic flash photography has turned into an annual nighttime event that brings a whole community together. Conceived by Professor Emeritus Bill DuBois and Associate Administrative Chair Michael Peres, the project began in 1987 with the shooting of Highland Hospital. Dawn Tower-DuBois, Professor of Arts and Imaging at RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, took the Highland Hospital photograph, and joined DuBois and Peres in photographing a total of 26 Big Shots over the last 25 years. In The RIT Big Shot the three share intimate details about the shoots, as well as talk about the process and the lighting plan for the photographs.
Using archival footage from a variety of sources, the film tells the stories of several past Big Shots including the inaugural shoot at Highland Hospital, as well as the Eastman House, Silver Stadium, Rundell Library, Mt. Hope Cemetery, The Alamo, The Royal Palace in Stockholm, Sweden, and The Pile Gate in Dubrovnik , Croatia. The RIT Big Shot also features never-before-seen footage of the 1999 Big Shot of the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York City. Additional interviews include Frank Cost, a professor in RIT’s School of Photographic Arts and Sciences; Suzanne Seldes, Vice President of Marketing at The Strong, and award-winning sculptor Albert Paley, who participated in the lighting of the 26th Big Shot at The Strong.
To learn more, visit WXXI.org/bigshot.