The yellow door of Agassiz Produce is just one of the backdrops photographer Tim Van Horn has used in his Mosaic Project.

The yellow door of Agassiz Produce is just one of the backdrops photographer Tim Van Horn has used in his Mosaic Project.

Traveling photographer focuses on faces

Mosaic of 36,000 portraits has become Van Horn's ‘tour of duty’

Tim Van Horn is four years into a self-imposed ‘tour of duty.’

But the only shooting he’ll be doing is through the lens of his camera, as he crosses the country to capture 36,000 images. He is focusing in on the faces that comprise Canada, shooting each of his subjects as a simple portrait. Once those are collected, his plan is to compile them all into a massive mosaic.

Van Horn set out on this goal in October 2008, and expects to finish before 2017. That will be just in time for Canada’s sesquicentennial — our country’s 150th birthday.

“This is our birthday, and it’s an opportunity to examine life here in Canada,” he said. “This is a pure look at what we have.”

Van Horn’s travels led him to Agassiz and Harrison Hot Springs in early January, where he did what he always does. He waited on the sidewalk, and asked every single person he saw whether he could take their portrait.

“I ask every single person who walks by,” he said.

While most people oblige, his request isn’t always met with smiles. But he doesn’t take the negative responses personally.

“The responses are a direct effect of who they are and what is going on in their lives,” he said.

But things went well at chosen backdrops in Agassiz, at the Agassiz Produce’s yellow door and at the Liquor Store wall. Van Horn captured 10 portraits, and then stopped in at The Observer before heading out to find a location in Harrison Hot Springs.

He has been carrying out the Mosaic Project without a sponsor, sleeping in his photograph-splashed van alongside his companions — two dogs. Much of his day is spent cataloging the photographs he’s taken, blogging about the project, and discovering the communities he’s visited.

While the end goal is to create a mosaic through photographs, the project isn’t just about art, Van Horn said. It’s about uniting Canada, “and to create something authentic that everyone can be a part of.”

Van Horn grew up in a military family, and as such, is somewhat used to moving around. But he’s chosen this project as his “creative tour of duty.”

In the process of creating the larger mosaic, Van Horn has also created smaller ones along the way. But the goal of 36,000 has significance. Together, those portraits will represent a solid one per cent of the population.

“My vision has always been to create innovative visuals that pay homage to the beauty and wonderment of life itself,” Van Horn writes on his blog.

“The fact that Canada is such a culturally diverse and beautiful place inspires me, and I see myself as a foot soldier on his tour of duty for humanity, listening to and studying life in everything and everyone around me.

“I am armed with a camera in one hand and grand vision in the other; a vision to illustrate and educate others by depicting our humanity and cultural identity.”

To learn more about Van Horn’s Mosaic Project,  or to search for a portrait he took of you, visit canadianmosiac.ca.

And remember, as Van Horn says on his website, you never know who you’ll meet on the sidewalk of life.

news@ahobserver.com

Just Posted

Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema, a member of the Canadian national women’s soccer squad.
Another scoreless draw for Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema and Canadian national women’s soccer squad

Canada played Brazil to a 0-0 tie days after doing the same in a friendly against the Czech Republic

FVRD surveyed public opinion on cannabis production and processing in the electoral areas. Odour and distance from residential areas were the top concerns. (Black Press file)
Cannabis production and processing rules being drafted by Fraser Valley Regional District

Data from public opinion survey will be used to guide cannabis-related land use

Robert Nelson, 35, died after being stabbed at a homeless camp in Abbotsford on April 7 of this year.
Mom pleads for information about son’s killing at Abbotsford homeless camp

Robert Nelson, 35, described as ‘man who stood for justice, honour, respect’

Chilliwack firefighters watch as an O’Connor Towing operator removes a stolen Volkswagen station wagon from the Fraser River off Cannor Road in west Chilliwack on June 13, 2021. (William Snow photo)
PHOTOS: Stolen vehicle dumped in Fraser River in Chilliwack Sunday

Search and Rescue determined there was no one inside the car found upside down off Cannor Road

Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on June 2 at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)
Abbotsford bank robbery suspect who was stopped by customers faces more charges

Neil Simpson now faces total of eight charges, up from the initial two

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Most Read