The Greenbelt Festival means a myriad of things to a multitude of people. It’s a Christian festival of arts, faith and justice with a long and rich history which started in 1972. I’ve been attending since 1993 and in 2002 became one of their official photographers. Together over the years we have created thousands of images and still only glimpsed the whole story. In this 40th’ anniversary year I wanted to create a piece of art that attempted to encompasses the festival’s history and decided to do that by creating a photo-mosaic with some of those images. Photo-mosaics are images composed of thousands of individual photos and are beautiful and elegant on many levels. Each fragment tell a tale and the whole *is* greater than the sum of its parts, just like the festival itself. Greenbelt sent me over their scanned archive images and I downloaded the digital archive to add to my own. Together that gave us around 25,000 images. My assistants and I curated the number of images down to around 12,000, i.e. we weeded out weaker images and then ones that were too similar to each other. The most suitable of these were chosen and there are around 7000 landscape orientation and 3000 portrait orientation images in the final mosaic. The working file size was 27Gb and the save time for the file was 15 minutes. In total there’s around 60 hours of work that gone into this image. We spent a good amont of time making sure that some of the most important archive images (U2 performing, images ones from the 1st festival etc) were present. Cue the Matt Redman song ‘Ten thousand reasons (which is fair enough as there’s a few photos of him performing in there). Hover over the photo-mosaic to zoom into it and see the detailed photos:
Here’s a closeup showing U2, Bruce Cockburn, Folk On, Sixpence none the Richer, Steve Taylor, Pip Wilson & many more.
If you’re at the festival this year you’ll be able to see the artwork up close and personal, as it’s been printed 4 meters wide by 4 meters high. Each individual photo is 5cm x 3.3cm and it’s been printed at very high resolution so it’s possible to see all the details. If you’ve been at the festival before (especially in the past 10 years) there’s a fair chance there’s a photo or crowd scene with you in it somewhere. Happy hunting.