The 1000-Year-Long Capture in Arizona

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What will things look like in 1000 years?

green and yellow abstract painting
Green and yellow abstract film development reel. Photo by Markus Spiske

It’s a long time ahead to be sure but one photographer in Arizona wants to take a long-exposure shot lasting a millennium to demonstrate the impact humanity has on its environment.

The Millennium Camera comes from the University of Arizona’s Jonathon Keats, a research associate at the school’s College of Fine Arts, the University’s website reports.

As the article explains, something that is going to last for 1000 years needs to be conceptually and structurally simple. Using a 24k gold sheet, light passes through a small aperture, traveling through a copper pole until making contact with a surface of rose madder that will capture the long exposure, the article explains.

He explains: “Most people have a pretty bleak outlook on what lies ahead. …It's easy to imagine that people in 1,000 years could see a version of Tucson that is far worse than what we see today, but the fact that we can imagine it is not a bad thing. It's actually a good thing, because if we can imagine that, then we can also imagine what else might happen, and therefore it might motivate us to take action to shape our future.”

One of the biggest questions all of this asks is how will a camera last for 1000 years? After all, that’s a long time, no matter how simple the construction, and how certain are we that the rose madder will be a good medium for this project? Answering these questions, Jonathon Keats admits that many things could go wrong and that a lot of this “process” is an “educated guess.”

It’s really a cool thought experiment nonetheless and something that does make one stop and think. You can read up on the inspiration behind the project and what Keats expects at this link.

Any thoughts you might have on this pretty cool experiment are welcome in the comments below.

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About Author

Kehl is our staff photography news writer since 2017 and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here and follow him on Insta.

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