Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Thousands of Soldiers Form Living Photographs

Thousands of American Soldiers Pose as Symbols of American History

These fantastic works of art are actually human or “living” photographs, taken by English photographer Arthur S. Mole and American photographer John D. Thomas. The images were constructed using thousands of soldiers positioned in synchronicity to form the subject of the photos. These American history photographs were taken around the turn of the 20th century at various military camps throughout the United States.
Human Liberty Bell Photograph
The Human Liberty Bell - 25,000 Soldiers - Camp Dix, New Jersey
Mole and Thomas spent time traveling from one military camp to another taking photos of soldiers formed in patriotic symbols as part of a planned promotional campaign to sell war bonds and boost morale.
Human Photos American Eagle
The Human American Eagle - 12,500 Officers, Nurses, and Soldiers - Camp Gordon - Atlanta, Georgia - 1918
Photographers Mole and Thomas spent days preparing each of the formations, which were photographed from a 70 to 80 foot tower with an 11 by 14 inch camera. These historic photos by Mole and Thomas are now part of the Chicago Historical Society, the Museum of Modern Art and the Library of Congress.
Human Statue of Liberty Living Photo
Human Statue of Liberty - 18,000 Soldiers - Camp Dodge - DesMoines, Iowa
Arthur’s great nephew Joseph Mole, told the story of how this incredible picture was captured: “In the picture of the Statue of Liberty there are 18,000 men: 12,000 of them in the torch alone, but just 17 at the base. The men at the top of the picture are actually half a mile away from the men at the bottom.”
Living Uncle Sam Photograph
The Living Uncle Sam - 19,000 Soldiers in this Photo - Camp Lee, Virginia
These photographs are the first known to use an innovative and unique technique to beat the problem of perspective and the use of so many people at one time. Arthur’s great nephew Joseph explains: “Arthur was able to get the image by actually drawing an outline on the lens, he then had the troops place flags in certain positions while he looked through the camera…”
Living Emblem of the United States Marines
Living Emblem of the United States Marines Logo
Carl Hammer, of the Chicago gallery, was quoted as saying: “Mole and Thomas were commissioned by the US government to take the pictures as a way to raise morale among the troops and raise money by selling the shots to the public.”
Living Photos President Woodrow Wilson
President Woodrow Wilson - 21,000 Soldiers in this Photo - Camp Sherman - Chillicothe, Ohio - 1918
The Panther Living Photograph
The Panther - Formed by the Faculty and Students of The University of Pittsburgh - April 9, 1920
Living Photos 209th Engineers
209th Engineers - Camp Sheridan, Alabama - 1919
Living Photos Machine Gun Insignia
Machine Gun Insignia - 22,500 Soldiers and 600 Machine Guns in this Photo - Camp Hancock - Augusta, Georgia - December 10, 1918

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