The devil in the detail

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Perfection’s about the tiny little details. Which is why the artist Dennis Manarchy spent ten years making a gigantic film camera with a lens and film big enough to make eyelashes look like huge, translucent tubes (watch our film below and you’ll see what we mean).

He’s got his eye on you

Made at his studio in Chicago, Manarchy’s giant camera (dubbed ‘the Eye of America’) is a working prototype that produces two-metre-tall negatives and 12-metre-high portraits. It’s part of a touring project that will take the camera on a 32,000 kilometre road trip across the United States, capturing the faces of disappearing and emerging cultures.

Watch our film about Manarchy’s behemoth camera and its huge, high res images – and see what he thought of the Nokia 808 PureView

And that's just an eyelash: the purist meets the Nokia 808 PureView

The purist meets the PureView

“Photography’s always been way too serious for me to just, ‘snap’, y’know?” says Manarchy. “Every picture I do means something.”

Given his standards of perfection, we weren’t sure what to expect when we gave Manarchy the Nokia 808 PureView to play with. It wasn’t that it was a digital camera – Manarchy’s used digital for years in his work – it was the fact it was a smartphone camera.

What would he make of it? By his own admission, Manarchy says he’s “too much of a control freak.” Would the Nokia 808 PureView afford enough control, and meet his high standards of image quality?

A camera big enough to capture the spirit of America

To find out more about Manarchy’s project, Vanishing Cultures: An American Portrait, and see the Eye of America in action, visit thefpac.org.