Tim Van Horn is a photographer from Red Deer, Alberta who is spending a decade to make a mosaic of the people of Canada for the 150th anniversary to be held in 2017. Starting in October of 2008 Van Horn began what will end up being a decade long project to take thousands of Canadians’ photographs. “I come from a military background. I grew up feeling like you needed to have some sort of need for something higher. Maybe for me at that time it would have been the government but now for me it is the people. I want to bring the people together. My mission is to unite us all across Canada in one single visual that talks about the wonderment of life,” Van Horn said.
The symbol of the mosaic will be the Canadian flag which Van Horn explains on his website is “ a universal symbol that all Canadians have an inherent relationship with in the hopes of reinventing, redesigning and rethinking the flag using thousands of portraits of Canadians.”
After starting his journey on this project three years ago Van Horn travelled around many parts of Canada in his van with his two dogs as company, taking pictures wherever he goes.
During one trip in 2006 Van Horn went through six Western Canadian cities and took 3,600 portraits for the mosaic.
“I travel through and get people to stand in front of some type of background. The idea is I get people who happen to walk by to be a part of this project. Their story that is etched upon their faces goes into this mosaic and goes into the bigger story of what life looks like. We all have a story and this brings it together,” he said.
So far he has collected over 11,000 photos and people have had mostly positive things to say about what he is trying to create. “People are really overwhelmed by this and they are very positive. People are inspired while others don’t have the time of day for me and that is ok. People who stop and I photograph talk to me for a minute. They bring something to the photo. It is an upward lift with each of these portraits because people are putting their best self forward.”
Van Horn is funding the project on his own currently and sells posters online to help pay for things as he goes. “I want this to be corporate free. It is for the people, by the people and empowered by the people. So if people believe in this thing then it will go somewhere.”
To learn more about the Canadian Mosaic project and other works which Van Horn is currently involved with you can check out his website online at www.canadianmosaic.ca