An unprecedented nighttime photo shoot Saturday at Cowboys Stadium drew about half its goal of 5,000 people. But the crowd was large enough to paint the building with light, a phrase used to describe the collaborative art project that utilized doctoral candidates as well as young children.
An estimated 2,400 people – mostly clothed in black – shuffled around the parking lot, waving flashlight beams along the stadium’s glass skin and bouncing light off the pavement. Volunteers across Legends Way pointed their lights at the stadium roof, while others huddled under the arches with their lights.
The 28th annual Big Shot is a project of the Rochester Institute of Technology, which has been shooting long-exposure, volunteer-lit scenes since the mid-1980s.
Appropriately for the venue, Big Shot co-founder Bill DuBois was forced to call audibles throughout the night from his perch 40 feet in the air atop a scissor lift.
The exposure length was doubled when the crowd was smaller than expected, but then reduced again when the first effort was overexposed. The volunteers had to be reminded to not let their flashlight beams linger, creating lighting hot spots. And then were told to shuffle back-and-forth in a wider area than planned.
After the last of five shots were finished at 9:05 p.m., project organizers surreptitiously passed around a bottle of peppermint schnapps – a Big Shot tradition, they noted – and head toward the stadium to start processing the photos.
DuBois said things were shaky at first but then “it all fell into place.”
Apparently, this addiction isn’t as silly as we think others think it is.