Kodak Tower Illuminated For RIT's "Big Shot" Project

Sep 18, 2016

Nearly three thousand people gathered along Street Street in Rochester Sunday night in front of the Kodak headquarters building.  It was for the purpose of taking a very special photo.

Organizers gave a countdown just before instructing the crowd to shine their flashlights and camera flashes at the Kodak Tower, and then told them when to stop. It was for RIT's Big Shot, a special photo art project now in its 32nd year.

The idea is to get a whole bunch of RIT students, staff and community volunteers to shine their lights on various buildings and locales around the world, to create a dramatic nighttime image.

Kodak Tower, before & after being illuminated
Credit rit.edu

The Big Shot has photographed a lot of well-known buildings and locations around the world, including Churchill Downs, the Alamo and the USS Intrepid.

A name synonymous with the birth of photography seemed appropriate for this year's photo to people like Michael Peres, an RIT professor who helps put this event together.

"The themes for this year's picture are celebrating photography, celebrating Rochester, celebrating what George Eastman did to photography, taking a wet process and making it a dry process which enabled the masses of this country certainly the world, made it accessible," Peres told WXXI News.

To give the photo a vintage look, the RIT photo team located a Ford Model T car with Anne Kress, president of Monroe Community College, on the plaza in front of Kodak’s headquarters. A massive 60-by-40-foot large photographic print of  George Eastman enabled the company’s founder to have a prominent presence in the image.

Among those looking on was Tom Emerson, a Kodak retiree who spent 40 years with the company.

"I still have yellow blood in me, I guess anybody that spends that much time has yellow blood, and I think that's something we all should have and I couldn't stay away"

Emerson says even though Kodak has gone through a lot of changes he thinks George Eastman would be proud that people turned out for the Big Shot event.