captured more than one image at Big Shot 1999. On the opposite page,
beginning top left: Tom Zigon, assistant professor of photography,
Bill DuBois, professor of photography, and Dawn Tower DuBois, NTID/CIAS
instructor, coordinate efforts before the shoot; a view of the Intrepid
as people gather on deck around 5 p.m.; Willie Osterman, associate
professor of photography, prepares to shoot at ground level; students
await the final moment; the CNN crew films the proceedings as Big
Shot photographers Bill and Dawn DuBois check their cameras; viewers
along the pier look forward to their own version of Big Shot; another
view of the Intrepid; Tom Zigon signals the crew aboard ship and
on the pier; students are good-to-go; flashers take position on
12th Ave.; Bill DuBois and Michael Peres, professor of photography,
ready equipment for a trip to the top of the UPS Building; Bill
DuBois and UPS's Mark Giuffre chat atop the UPS Building; students
arrange to illuminate the ship; flashers get last minute instructions;
the CNN crew arranges to film the event against the New York City
flashers filled the flight deck of the World War II aircraft carrier.
They lined New York City's 12th Avenue and Pier 84 adjacent to
the 900-foot-long ship. Camera flashes in hand, more than 1,200
people shivered in the October cold as they waited for the sun
to set and the word to come. Heads continually turned to check
the red signal light located in a window in a building across
the street and nine stories up. Finally, it glowed, a signal that
there was only a minute to go before they would help make photographic
history. They silently counted down, till they heard the command:
then they flashed. Over and over again they flashed the Intrepid
Sea Air Space Museum, bringing it out of the darkness and bathing
it in light. At the end of two minutes, word came again: "Stop
the flashers took a breath, RIT's Big Shot photographers perched
atop the United Parcel Service building held theirs. They waited
for the Polaroid photo they were using as a gauge to emerge. Just
as a clear, well-lit picture of the ship appeared, the anxiety
and concerns they had harbored over the last eight months began
to vanish. They had it, and they had three more chances to make
it even better. As one look at the cover of this magazine will
tell you, the Big Shot team succeeded. The Oct. 28 event at the
Intrepid marked RIT's 14th attempt at making a nighttime picture
of a large, hard-to-photograph subject, using only handheld flashes
for light. It was a tremendous success.
think the image is incredible," says Michael Peres, photography
professor and co-founder of the Big Shot, along with Bill DuBois,
also a photography professor, and Dawn Tower DuBois, instructor,
National Technical Institute for the Deaf/College of Imaging Arts
and Sciences Support Department. "Seeing the final color print
and how the light worked in that enormous space became the best
part. The anxiety of wondering if it would work, if people would
show, if we would be able to direct everyone--it was all worth
it. I'm delighted."
to the Intrepid was a long road. But it was a destination the
Big Shot team always wanted to reach: in 1987, senior Corey Meitchik
took part in RIT's second Big Shot. He joined his professors and
classmates as they "painted with light" and successfully captured
a picture of the George Eastman House. Afterwards, he suggested
to Peres and DuBois that they take on the Intrepid.
were wondering what would be next, and I had just been to the
Intrepid the weekend before," Meitchik says. "It was a big enough
structure and it could be lit from all around. It fit the criteria."
with only two Big Shots in their portfolios, the team quickly
decided that the Intrepid was too large and complicated a project
to attempt so soon. Rather, they would take their time and select
their subjects carefully. They would choose sites that would allow
them to test their skills. But they always kept Meitchik's suggestion
in the back of their minds.
the next 12 years, Big Shots would focus on local landmarks such
as Mt. Hope Cemetery, Silver Stadium and the Ontario County Courthouse
in Canandaigua. With each attempt, the photographers challenged
themselves in new and different ways. Quickly the project gained
momentum. Everyone soon knew what had to be done and what roles
they had to play. Peres took over organizing the action on the
ground level, while the DuBoises made sure they got the shot.
the team had to pick a location for the 1999 Big Shot, they felt
the time had come to consider the Intrepid. After an initial visit
to the ship in February proved that the idea was feasible, everyone
involved began working to make it happen. Soon it wasn't just
another Big Shot, but an opportunity for alumni to gather together.
grads jumped at the chance to be a part of Institute history.
More than 500 from all over the country turned out, including
Beth Sabbatini, a 1989 graduate of the graphic design program.
An active member of the New York City alumni chapter, Sabbatini
had never "flashed" before.
had no idea what it was all about, but it sounded kind of interesting,"
she says. "It was definitely fun."
the shoot, RIT's Office of Alumni Relations hosted a party on
board the aircraft carrier.
was a huge success," says Dan Hickey, assistant director, Alumni
Relations. "We were able to bring alumni, parents, students, faculty,
staff, high school students and the general public together for
the partygoers was Corey Meitchik. Not only had he participated
in the Big Shot he had dreamed of long ago, but as a member of
the team, he helped to make it happen.
was awesome," says Meitchik. "After all of the planning that went
into it, to see it come together and see all the people who came--it