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Wednesday, 10 April, 2002, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK
Snapshots create giant photo
The image is wrapped around a cinema in London
Almost 40,000 individual tiles make up the image
A collage of photographs of 3,500 people has been turned into what is being described as the biggest digital photo image ever created.

The snapshots have been put together in a mosaic which, when viewed from a distance, looks like an image of just 15 people.

These snapshots go up to make an eye
These snapshots create the image of an eye
The mosaic is the size of two Olympic swimming pools and dominates the view at a busy junction in central London, where it has been wrapped around the British Film Institute's Imax cinema by Waterloo Bridge.

It was created by celebrity photographer Rankin and artist Robert Silvers, who invented the technique of making photo mosaics.

Called You Can, it was created by electrical manufacturers Canon using self-portraits taken by its employees from across Europe.

Similar, smaller versions will now go up in other cities including Paris, Madrid and Milan.

The London version measures 2,000m squared - or 12 double-decker buses long and three high.

The image was erected around a cinema in London
The image was erected around a London cinema
"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 Rankin, who photographed the people whose faces are visible from a distance.

They range in age from six to 92, and are supposed to represent "the seven ages of man".

"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," Rankin said.

'Pushed to limit'

Silvers then took the images, as well as those taken of Canon employees, and pieced them together to make the finished article.

"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," he said.

"There are 39,000 tiles in this and it's really pushed me to the limit."

See also:

30 Jan 02 | Sci/Tech
Digital cameras capture imagination
02 Nov 01 | Sci/Tech
Digital photos 'endanger the past'
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