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A picture is worth how many words? View the artist's interview with CNN's Miles O'Brien and Bobbie Battista:

5:00 Vxtreme streaming video

Life Magazine

Silvers achieved a photographer's dream when his work appeared on the cover of Life magazine

Photographs within photographs

Robert Silvers combines computers, photography for "Photomosaics"

February 12, 1998
Web posted at: 12:19 p.m. EDT (1219 GMT)

(CNN) -- Robert Silvers wanted to try something a little different in the realm of mosaics, typically elaborate images created by the arrangement of small, solid-colored tiles. Silvers wanted to use photographic images, tiled, to create a larger image.

"It started with me thinking about how I would do this by hand," Silvers told CNN. "And then I wrote special computer software which sees and thinks the way I do."

A student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the time, Silvers launched Runaway Technology to create his photomosaics, which have now appeared on the cover of Life and Wired magazines and in an ad for MasterCard. Silvers has also created portraits of Vice President Al Gore and Microsoft CEO Bill Gates.

Now his photographic inventions can be seen in a colorful book entitled "Photomosaics," published by Henry Holt & Company last Fall.

"(The software) takes thousands of photographs and compares them to regions within a grid using another photograph as a reference," Silvers explained. "(It) replaces that reference photograph section by section with the best matching photograph from the collection until it looks like the original image when viewed from a distance."

So a mosaic of Abraham Lincoln is made up of photographs of the Civil War from the Libary of Congress collection. Marilyn Monroe, created as a Life cover, is made up of a series of Life covers from past years. Bill Gates is composed of currency from around the world.

Silvers says he considers himself part computer scientist and part artist -- so his software allows him the final say in what tiny image goes into what part of the larger mosaic.

What do you make of these photos? What can Robert Silvers make with them? Click the images to see the larger image they comprise. Click to enlarge


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