"We are changing the planet on timescales of a 1,000, 10,000 or even 100,000 years and we're completely incapable of psychologically appreciating the power that we have," Keats told me on the phone. "They're a means to have a sort of cognitive prosthesis, a mechanism for us to be able to see ourselves from that far-future perspective."
Keats' placed his Millennium Cameras at four locations around Lake Tahoe. Each camera is made of copper and is only 2.75 inches long and 2.25 inches in diameter. Inside the camera is a sheet of 24-karat gold pierced by a small hole. As light passes through this small hole, it causes a reaction with the rose-colored pigment inside the camera, which causes the color to fade where the light is the brightest. This will slowly imprint an image on the pigment over the next 1,000 years. [...]
"The changes that happen may wipe out the camera or wipe out the institution that's in charge of it," Keats told me. "I just signed a contract with Sierra Nevada College that is for an exhibition of these four photographs in the year 3018. We're certainly taking chances with this, but that's also part of the picture in a way."
Jonathon Keats has designed a pinhole camera that will take a 1,000-year exposure of Lake Tahoe: