“He’s an amazing friend. We couldn’t have done it without him,” Byrne said.
The original idea for the “I Love Taiwan” photo campaign came in April with a Facebook appeal for photos. Within a half hour, he had his first photo. Five months later he’s collected more than 35,000 photos and his initial YouTube video has been viewed upwards of 500,000 times.
At first, Bettinson planned to showcase a stockpile of 201,210 photos in a massive collage on the side of Taipei 101 for Double Ten, but the NT$10 million cost proved prohibitive.
Despite the setback, Bettinson continues to amass a collection of photos, and is considering other venues to display the collage. “I’m just going to keep going and get as many pictures as possible.”
Breaking a record
In the meantime, Bettinson is focused on gathering together as many people as possible for the Oct. 10 event so as to break the world record. While he doesn’t expect Guinness representatives to be present, he is hoping video, photos and witnesses will validate that the 2,012-person mosaic is indeed a world record.
One of those who will be helping out is Taichung resident Pay Liu (劉權霈), who saw Bettinson’s online photo appeal and was determined to get involved. Liu was able to help bring in sponsors who will be supplying promotional balloons and stickers.
“This is a meaningful event,” he said. “People should get involved.”