A photomosaic is the byproduct of photo collage. While collage arranges seemingly separate things together using traditional means of cutting, gluing, rearranging and overlapping, photocollage uses the same means but digitally. These means bring forth intricate visuals and sometimes meaning. Often only discernible to the careful viewer, information can be arranged by putting things together on a 2D plane. By doing so, we paint the difference between things and the space among them. Unlike the painting collages Matisse created, the digital age brought us digital images. Photocollage can be organized and arranged to meet certain criteria. Some of those may be hue, saturation, or even the size of the image fragments. When all image fragments are equal sized tiles and the whole shows a new image by arrangement and repetition of the tiles, it is a photomosaic. The digital process of creating a photocollage or a photomosaic echoes the traditional process. In the following section, I describe an example traditional process for photocollage.
Choose images that appeal by their colors or by what they represent. Tear these images into pieces. If you wish to make the separation stand out, brush black India ink around each piece of image and/or separate the fragments using negative space. Place the pieces on the surface as desired to make a new image. When happy, glue the pieces together permanently.
By relying on rhythm, repetition, and concepts of full versus empty, one creates an aesthetic perception. Although part of a whole, discovering the arrangements of shapes, colors, relationships of values helps bring forth meaning and/or emotion. The specificity of how fragments are organized could be used in other contexts. Paper fragments can be torn into other types of paper: wallpaper, gift paper, colored poster paper. The work will then be more focused on rhythm, repetition of colors or patterns. Further applications also exist in other fields. In mathematics, the work on algorithms that handle shape matching, repetitions, or even spatial organization. In written expression, the arrangement of shapes and colors can be the support of an opening to the imaginary.
You may find below different themed photomosaics. Each part of the used target image is replaced with one tile of a set of images where these colors are as similar as possible. In effect, the target image is reduced in resolution (by downsampling), and then each of the resulting pixels is replaced with an image whose average color matches that pixel.
- The Earth photomosaic uses the famous AS11-36-5337 image taken on 16 July 1969 during the Apollo 11 mission. It is created using Space views taken by the Hubble Space telescope. Parameters: CIELAB colorspace, Manhattan distance, 275,625 image squares. Image credits.
- The moon photomosaic is created using Earth views taken by the oldest continuous Earth observing satellite imaging program (Landsat). Parameters: HSL colorspace, Manhattan distance, 150,000 image squares.