My mission is to unite the country in this euphoric image that talks about every aspect of who we are, what our cultural identity is about, what life really looks like here in Canada.
—Tim Van Horn, Photojournalist
Everybody's got a story. And Tim Van Horn is setting out to tell those stories one photograph at a time.
The photojournalist has been snapping photos of Canadians since 2008. The goal is to create 36,000 portraits and turn them into a Canadian mosaic. It will be shaped like a flag, 30 by 100 feet long, and will be unfurled on Canada's 150th birthday in 2017. With 17,000 photos so far, Van Horn is almost half way there.
"My mission is to unite the country in this euphoric image that talks about every aspect of who we are, what our cultural identity is about, what life really looks like here in Canada," he said in an interview with Larry Updike on Up to Speed.
Everyone has a story to tell (Tim Van Horn)
Van Horn, who calls himself a visual anthropologist, approaches everyone and anyone he meets, on street corners, in museums, in front of grocery stores. He says 70% of the time, people are open to being photographed. "I have to lose all my shyness and inhibitions," he admits. "This is really a pilgrimage into myself as much as it is to the country."
Van Horn travels and lives in a colourful van with his two dogs. He receives no corporate or government sponsorship for the project, but members of the public can sponsor a portion of his travel and expenses or buy a poster on his website
if they want to support his venture.
Every region of Canada will be represented (Tim Van Horn)
"I come from a military background," he says, so I think of all the people who served this country, who built this city and who plow the fields. And I think of how hard these people worked and I compare my pilgrimage, my mission, to how these other people have helped and contributed to this country and that keeps me focussed and keeps me moving forward."
Watch out for Van Horn and his camera on the streets of Winnipeg until Oct. 2.