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• Unique collaboration between two of the world’s leading photographic talents - fashion photographer Rankin and digital Photomosaic™ artist Robert Silvers

• 2,000 square metre poster contains almost 40,000 separate images wraps London’s IMAX cinema


LONDON, April 11th, 2002 – Photographic art takes a giant leap forward today with the unveiling of ‘You Can’: an ambitious collaborative effort to create what is believed to be the world’s largest digital Photomosaic™.


‘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 façade of the bfi London IMAX® theatre, just south of Waterloo Bridge in central London. It is the first time that the IMAX cinema 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 world’s 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 final image comprises nearly 40,000 separate digital photographs; similar, but smaller, treatments are also being unveiled in major cities across Europe including Paris, Madrid, Milan, Düsseldorf 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, 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.


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 concept behind Canon’s You Can proposition is that everybody is capable of achieving their creative potential. To support this, alongside the unveiling of the Photomosaic™, Canon is announcing the launch of this year’s Digital Creators’ Contest, which incentivises and rewards innovation in digital photography among members of the general public.


“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 Canon’s 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, it’s the largest photo-mosaic I’ve ever made. There are 39,000 tiles in this and it’s really pushed me to the limit. I’ve had to make changes in the software and we’ve 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 we’ve 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 we’ve 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.”


- ENDS -


Note to editors:


Interviews with Rankin and James Leipnik in London and Robert Silvers via conference can be arranged by contacting the numbers below.


Pushing the boundaries of digital innovation is at the heart of Canon’s new philosophy. Canon is organising for the third year the 2002 Digital Creators Contest, a global competition aimed at encouraging next-generation creative artists to explore new directions in visual image expression. For further details visit Canon’s Digital Creators Contest website: http://www.canon.com/cdcc/


About Canon Europe


Canon Europe is a subsidiary of Canon Inc. of Japan, a world-leading innovator and provider of imaging and information technology solutions for individuals and businesses. The main business focus for Canon Europe is in two clearly defined markets: Business Solutions (network peripherals: photocopy, printer, scanner and fax solutions) and Consumer Imaging (Input Solutions: photographic equipment including analogue and digital cameras and camcorders; and Output Solutions: Bubble Jet and other printers). Canon Europe also provides Industrial Products including broadcast lenses, semiconductor and medical equipment. Canon Europe employs more than 12,000 people across 19 countries.


Further information about Canon Europe is available at: http://www.canon-europa.com

Media enquiries, please contact:



Ann Sher
Corporate PR Manager, Canon Europe
t. +44 (0)208 588 8000
e. Ann.Sher@canon-europe.com


Sarah Griffiths / Terri Fellowes
Nelson Bostock Communications
t. +44 (0)207 229 4400
e. Sarah.Griffiths@nelsonbostock.com


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