During the inception of digital photography, Collishaw noticed that the pixelated format of the electronic image bore a strong resemblance to the ancient technique of forming images with mosaic tiles.

The digital image required a meticulous analysis of its subject and was more analogous to the use of code in translating information than the subjective interpretation of a painter.

Each patch of skin or braid of hair had a particular colour or tonal value that was recordable and empirically precise. Collishaw developed a computer program that scanned an image and determined the exact shade of grey on a scale of 1 to 100.

The tones were painted onto ceramic tiles that were arranged in a way that was prescribed by computer, with no room for human intervention.