Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Flickr and building a Photomosaic using Mosaickr

When I was 15 years old I lived in Holland, attending an International School with students from North America to Ceylon. All had parents affiliated with NATO. It was a small school. There were only 23 people in my sophomore class. Since I had always been a reader, and was drawn to photography, I loved reading and looking at magazines like Life and Look and even Time.

One time, a friend of mine asked me to get him a "Big Time." Since I didn't realize, being a rather worldly wise yet unsophisticated 15 year old, that a "Big Time" was a candy bar, I got him a Time magazine. There was nothing incongruous in the request from my point-of-view. His face moved from normal to stunned, then melted into loud guffaws. After we both laughed at my mistake, I was embarrassed, he called me a few silly names and life went on. Well, not really. I think the faux pas ended our friendship. Teen's can be unforgiving. I moved a few months later, anyway.

One of the memorable things about these magazines were the occasions when they would publish a mosaic of images, covers, or art work, arranged in such a way it looked like a well-known or memorable photograph. There would be an article attached saying how much work was involved in laying out and assembling the mosaic in the unmistakable pattern. Sometimes, the staff would spend hours, days and weeks choosing and making the mosaic. I remember seeing President John Kennedy's face in such an image after he was assassinated.

Mosaickr lets anyone with access to Flicker create such an intricate patterned image. Use Mosaickr at This is one of many programs available. It was created for fun by three young Swiss grad students.

[Random images gleaned from Flickr using the Mosaickr program.]

To create a new Mosaic using your own photographs, or specific images tagged on Flickr, go to the above address and sign into your Flickr account. Choose "Create New Mosaick." You will first select a photograph upon which you will build the mosaic. This is the master image. Next, you will select the tiles to use. You will need between 200 and 400 tiles, or photographs. Click on finish and let the program work. You will need to give an email address and will be informed when the mosaic is finished.

The point is you don’t have to do this by hand. It doesn’t have to take hours, days or weeks. It really only takes a few minutes. You get a low-resolution for free or can buy a high-resolution or poster.

By the way, this is my facebook image.

1 comment:

  1. This is cool! If I ever have my own house, I'm going to try to build a real mosaic - maybe based on a photograph - for wall art.