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Dennis Manarchy’s World’s Largest Film Camera in Chicago

This is the world’s largest film camera, as seen outside of Ogilvie Transportation Center in Chicago, Illinois in 2014.

This attraction was only there briefly, so you can’t find it there now, but, while it was on display, this giant camera was a wonderful site to see and attracted visitors all day long.

Dennis Manarchy, a photographer from Rockford, Illinois constructed the camera in 2013. The camera was a whopping thirty-five feet long and twelve feet tall. It weighed in at 7,000 pounds, with the lens alone weighing 300 pounds! Plus, it was fully functional camera.

A big camera like this produced big prints. Manarchy’s creation took negatives that were 6 feet long and produced photos that were two-stories tall. The camera had an amazing resolution that was way better than anything you’d get from a standard point and shoot, iPhone, or DSLR!

Manarchy was inspired to create the camera due to the impending bicentennial of the invention of the camera as well as the decline of film usage in photography. He hoped going large-scale would create buzz for his photography project.

After building the world’s largest camera, Dennis Manarchy used it in a traveling exhibition. He traveled on a 20,000-mile road trip while documenting 50 cultures across the United States. The photographs were collected in an exhibit titled An American Portrait: Butterflies and Buffalos. You can learn more about the project here.

The camera was only in Chicago for a limited time in 2014, but I was lucky enough to visit on my lunch break and snap my own photo of it. The giant camera was definitely a site to behold! It might now be the best road trip camera, but it certainly is the biggest!

Photo of the World’s Largest Film Camera outside of Ogilvie Transportation Center in Chicago, Illinois:

Dennis Manarchy's World's Largest Film Camera in Chicago
Dennis Manarchy’s World’s Largest Film Camera in Chicago

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Dennis Manarchy's World's Largest Film Camera in Chicago, Illinois | Roadside Attractions in Illinois

VALerie BROMANN

Founder & Head Road Tripper

Val is the founder and head road tripper at Silly America. Having grown up near Berwyn's famed car kabob, The Spindle, and a restaurant with a cow on its roof, her fascination with roadside attractions started early. Today, Val has visited hundreds roadside attractions across the United States and is constantly on the lookout for the next BIG thing!

The Road Trip Journal & Activity Book - Everything You Need to Have and Record an Epic Road Trip! By Valerie Bromann

The Road Trip Journal & Activity Book

Everything You Need to Have and Record an Epic Road Trip!

BY Valerie Bromann

Enjoy fun games and challenges to pass the time on your next road trip and have a keepsake to look back on for years to come with this entertaining must-have for your next vacation.

The road trip you’ve been dreaming of starts here! Journal about your stops and get to know your fellow passengers with activities and exercises designed to pass the time and bring you closer together. Instead of “Are we there yet?” you’ll find yourself asking, “We’re there already?”. Complete with prompts you can turn to while driving between locations, this journal will one day be a memento of your life-changing trip.