New Book Captures Imagery, History and Community of RIT’s Big Shot Photo Project

RIT hosts book release party on April 29

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RIT has released a commemorative book about the Big Shot. The hardcover full-color book includes all 25 past Big Shot photographs of historical and contemporary landmarks and essays from the project’s organizers and various participants.

Rochester Institute of Technology has released a new commemorative book about its longtime photography project known as Big Shot.

The full-color book showcases the 25 past Big Shot photographs of historical and contemporary landmarks from Rochester and around the world starting with the Polaroid image of the first Big Shot subject at Highland Hospital to Big Shot number 25, a digital image of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., taken in September.

Since RIT started its Big Shot project in 1987, the event has hopscotched to several national landmarks and twice crossed the Atlantic Ocean. Through their viewfinders, Big Shot photographers have captured such landmarks as the U.S.S. Intrepid, the Royal Palace in Stockholm, Sweden, and George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, while drawing in thousands of volunteers and spectators throughout the past two decades.

RIT will host a book release party from 4 to 5 p.m. April 29 in the Neblette Conference Room, first floor of the Frank E. Gannett Building. Books will be available for purchase at that time.

While photographic technology has changed significantly since the Big Shot project’s inception, one constant that has remained the same is the enthusiasm of the volunteers who provide the primary light source for each of the nighttime images. The Big Shot requires hundreds of volunteers, continuously waving either a flashlight or an electronic flash unit, while RIT photographers shoot an extended exposure. The book demonstrates these contributions from RIT students, alumni and public volunteers.

The book also includes some never-before seen images along with essays from Big Shot organizers and RIT professors Michael Peres, William DuBois and Dawn Tower DuBois. Past participants such as RIT President Bill Destler and retired RIT president Al Simone also share their Big Shot memories in the book.

Rachael Gootnick, a 2009 graduate of RIT’s graphic media publishing program, designed the book and accompanying dust jacket with support from RIT’s Open Publishing Lab.

The 11-by-13 hardcover book is 120 pages and costs $99.50. A link to purchase the book can be found at