After sundown on Thursday, April 12, hundreds of people will take their positions along the historic city wall of Dubrovnik, Croatia, near Pile Gate. The massive contingency of volunteers, from all over the United States and Europe, will be armed—but only with flashlights—as they help create Rochester Institute of Technology’s “Big Shot” photograph.
RIT faculty, staff, and alumni along with RIT’s sister college, The American College of Management and Technology (ACMT), will participate. ACMT, nestled in the heart of Dubrovnik along the Adriatic Sea, is home to more than 600 students from Croatia and neighboring countries. In addition to RIT and ACMT participants, the entire city of Dubrovnik and its many tourists have been invited.
The Big Shot, described as a “painting with light” photograph, requires volunteers to continuously paint the subject area with light, using either flashlights or camera flash units. While the volunteers illuminate the subject area, photography professors from RIT’s School of Photographic Arts and Sciences take an extended exposure lasting up to two minutes. The Big Shot photo project began in 1987 in Rochester, N.Y. Highland Hospital was the subject of RIT’s first Big Shot.
The subject of this year’s Big Shot is the entrance to Dubrovnik’s Old Town at Pile Gate, built in the late 1400s. The high fortress wall with its turrets; Dubrovnik’s patron saint, St. Blaise; and the Croatian flag flying above the fortress wall will be featured in the background. In the foreground of the shot, volunteers will light a stonebridge and a moat overgrown with trees.
“The Big Shot is going to be a special event and something we have not experienced in the city’s long history,” says Tonci Skvrce, managing director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board. “The City of Dubrovnik and the Dubrovnik Tourist Board are excited to be a part of it, and we are working behind the scenes to provide the necessary logistical support. We are looking forward to working with RIT and ACMT to photograph Dubrovnik in a very unique way.”
RIT’s Big Shot began as a way to teach students about electronic flash photography. Since then, the event has traveled around the world, capturing images of such notable landmarks as The Alamo, the USS Intrepid, the Royal Palace in Stockholm, Sweden, and George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film.
RIT faculty members Michael Peres, Bill DuBois and Dawn Tower DuBois reprise their roles as coordinators for this 23rd Big Shot.
“We are thrilled to be in Europe and sharing this community experience with our family at ACMT and the people of Dubrovnik, ” says Bill DuBois, administrative chair of photographic arts in RIT’s School of Photographic Arts and Sciences. “After doing the Big Shot for 20 years, I’m still amazed at the large number of people who come out for this event. The end result is not only a stunning, nighttime photograph, but also the camaraderie and lasting friendships.”
RIT’s American College of Management and Technology celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. Following the war in Yugoslavia in the early 90s, the Croatian government partnered with RIT to open the college as a way to rebuild the resort area of Dubrovnik and repair the severely damaged tourist industry. The college offers associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in hospitality and service management, a master of science degree in service management, and several certificate programs to serve the local business community.
“The Big Shot photo project is a wonderful way to celebrate ACMT's 10th anniversary and provide a keepsake photo to everyone who participates,” says Don Hudspeth, president and dean of American College of Management and Technology. “This event is also a great opportunity for ACMT to express its gratitude to the city of Dubrovnik for being our gracious host for a decade.”