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The World's Slowest Photo Will Take 1,000 Years to Expose

You'll have to wait until the year 3015 years to see Jonathon Keats' pinhole photo.
March 5, 2015, 10:30pmUpdated on March 5, 2015, 10:53pm
A prototype of the millenium camera. Photograph: Jonathon Keats. Images via

Tomorrow, conceptual artist and experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats will unveil the bespoke pinhole camera he'll be using to shoot a single photograph over the course of an entire millennium. According to Slate, in 3015, the ASU Art Museum will display the creation in a monthlong exhibit.

“I live in San Francisco, a city that’s undergoing radical transformation," Keats tells Slate. “These cameras are my attempt to compress time, expanding our awareness of change.” That very same day, Keats will help others construct so-called "century cameras" at ASU's Emerge festival. Participants will take their devices and hide them throughout Phoenix, Arizona, where they will lie dormant, capturing the evolution of an environment all the way through the year 2115.

Keats likens the process of an image developing over 100 years to leaving a book out on the coffee table and seeing its colors fade. He explains, “The black ink will fade in sunlight, and eventually the page will turn white. But if you were to project an image onto the black paper, then only the bright areas would fade, and you’d eventually end up with a printed picture.” He believes his project has the potential to be even greater, too, pondering what the world might look like if century cameras were redesigned with cardboard and given to every child: “Just imagine. Every day, starting 100 years from now, a new worldwide deep-time panorama would be revealed.”


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