The People’s Picture | FORMAT International Photography Festival

This week, a giant photo mosaic created by The People’s Picture was unveiled as part of the #massisolationFORMAT project at FORMAT21 International Photography Festival.The online interactive high resolution 180 giga pixel image is composed of a total of 180,574 photos. When the viewer zooms in they are able to see the individual photos from #massisolationFORMAT up close and in detail.

Inspired by the 1937 Mass Observation project, FORMAT invited people to use the hashtag #massisolationFORMAT to create a visual record of the Covid19 crisis on Instagram. This mass-participation project, set up at the beginning of the March 2020 lockdown, received over 40,000 photo submissions from 90+ countries, sharing people’s experiences living through a pandemic. 

The images came from a wide range of people – photographers, professionals, amateurs, members of the public – and came together as a large scale photo mosaic to commemorate this moment in history, and celebrate our collective emergence into the ‘new normal’.

Chosen by FORMAT, the photograph Lovers was shot by Argentian photographers Luisa Magdalena and Nahuel Alfonso and inspired by Renè Magritte’s painting Les Amants. A double self-portrait, created in response to the Covid19 pandemic, its painterly quality of colours and soft light coupled with its youthful optimism of young love made it the perfect contender for the giant mosaic, which has been created and produced by The People’s Picture.


The Lovers photo mosaic has been produced in four ambitious conceptions for FORMAT21: an online interactive 180 giga pixel zoomable image hosted by Micrio; an online multiplayer exhibition; a giant public space vinyl print installation produced by Prolific Graphics at QUAD in Derby and a physical exhibition featuring curated friezes at Derby Museum and Art Gallery.

“[Lovers] was selected to be the focal point to unite the huge selection of images, encapsulating the feeling of hope that so many of us have clung to over the past year and gives us a glimpse into the intimacy, friendship, laughter and love that is awaiting us as we begin to exit the pandemic.”

Louise Fedotov Clements | FORMAT Director

“It has been quite a challenge because we pushed what we are doing to its technical limits, I spent many days and hours on problem solving but it was a brilliant testing ground for our collaborative virtual software. The content is complex and interesting and I am very happy with the final image of the Lovers which is an intimate and forbidden image, which seems to chime perfectly with our collective hopes and desires.”

Helen Marshall | Artistic Director of the People’s Picture





"People are at the core of each project; people share their memories, dreams and celebrate through pictures."

- The People’s Picture