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The impressive 136 metre Photomosaic around the London Imax theatre
You Can captures the seven ages of man through a montage of 15 portraits; each made up of individual snapshots. The massive picture, commissioned by Canon Europe, measures 2,000 square metres, and is as big as two Olympic-sized swimming pools. It is as long as 12 London buses (136 metres) and as high as three double-decker buses (14.7 metres). It wraps the entire circular faade of the bfi London IMAX theatre, just south of Waterloo Bridge in central London and is the first time that the IMAX theatre has been used in this way.
The creation began life as 15 individual portraits, of people ranging in age from six months to 92 years, taken by one of the worlds leading photographers, Rankin. These images were then combined into one single group portrait, which in turn was converted by digital artist Robert Silvers into a Photomosaic made up of 3,500 individual self-portraits by Canon employees in countries across Europe.
The 15 individual portraits from eldest to youngest
The final IMAX image comprises nearly 40,000 separate digital photographs and similar, but smaller, treatments are also being unveiled in major cities across Europe including Paris, Madrid, Milan, Dsseldorf and Stockholm.
Silvers' proprietary software, protected by patents in several major countries (US Patent No. 6,137,498), expertly considers minute details in hundreds of individual images to create a beautiful mosaic arrangement. Customised to embrace a variety of applications, Silvers Photomosaic have appeared in magazines, posters, and installations and with moving tiles in music videos and TV commercials.
Rankin has gained recognition as a photographer, publisher and most recently as a video director, with an iconic, intimate portraiture style coupled with a mischievous, witty eye. Well adjusted to ruffling fashion's feathers, Rankin has become one of the world's leading freelance photographers.
Rankin next to the PhotoMosaic
Canon Europe commissioned the work to inaugurate its new pan-European brand platform, You Can, designed to encourage people to realise their creative potential through digital photography and imaging technology. The composition is a stunning example of what can be achieved through the marriage of art, technology and human innovation.
The PhotoMosaic in construction
I was immediately excited by the Photomosaic project as it helps take my work to a new dimension in terms of creativity and size, said fashion photographer, Rankin. We chose the ages of man concept as a theme as it allowed me to suggest that anyone, regardless of age, can realise their potential. Using ordinary people, rather than catwalk models, helped the work reflect Canons new You Can philosophy.
This project was very challenging and yet in some ways it was easy, because I was provided with a great photo collection and a great image to work from, commented Robert Silvers, digital Photomosaic artist. From a technical standpoint, its the largest photo-mosaic Ive ever made. There are 39,000 tiles in this and its really pushed me to the limit. Ive had to make changes in the software and weve had to do lots of things to simply generate the image from a technological point of view and its size and scale is such that weve had to make sure the quality was there every step of the way.
This work makes a creative statement around our new European brand platform, You Can, both of which are about people, their individual creativity and innovation, and we believe that the digital image weve wrapped the Imax with, represents all three concepts, concluded James Leipnik, chief of business strategy, Canon Europe. We are delighted with the enthusiasm and creative input Rankin and Silvers have put into this project and also pleased that thousands of Canon employees across Europe have been directly involved with the process and have therefore contributed to the end result.