LOCATION : Washington, D.C.
MARKET : Cultural, Cultural
Museum Of Photography

A shrine to photography

Anticipating the camera's 200th anniversary in a few years, as revolutionary products emerge from the ashes of film, Dennis Manarchy envisions the Museum of Photography as both an exhibition space specializing in world class photography, as well as the final resting home for what might be the world's largest film camera with an actual lens.

Manarchy calls this project "a swan song to the brilliance of film." With an earlier prototype camera, Manarchy traveled to Louisiana to capture the Cajun population.

That nostalgia seems to permeate his psyche. Manarchy has not only built a shrine to a medium in its twilight, but he has also chosen a specific subject matter: He calls it the "Vanishing Cultures" project. The endeavor is as big as the camera: build a brand-new camera; travel a mere 20,000 miles across the country making portraits; get Washington D.C.'s prestigious National Portrait Gallery to display the photographs, which can be expanded, without Photoshop, to the size of a building; donate the camera to the Smithsonian.

It's ambitious and still developing conceptually, but Manarchy is optimistic that this dream will be actualized. "It's a cool idea, it's big and crazy," he says. Beyond the shock factor of scale and cost, Manarchy is committed this ode to film and other cultural treasures.

The museum design, silver and sensual like many of Manarchy's photographs, countersunk in the earth and surrounded by a waterfall and features a variety of spaces and methods for viewing and displaying photographic art.