Patriotic Photographs by Arthur S. Mole & John D. Thomas

At the beginning of the 20th century, English photographer Arthur S. Mole and his American colleague John D. Thomas, created these living photographs formed by thousands of US soldiers.

The Living Uncle Sam: 19,000 officers and men at Camp Lee, Virginia, January 13, 1919. They took the photographs in camps across the US using soldiers returning to America after World War I

Mole & Thomas were using 11 x 14 inch view camera, which was positioned on a 24-meters-high tower (80 feet). Firstly, the put the outlay (wireframe) of a desired image on a glass plate in Mr. Mole's camera. Then, with help of assistants, the image trace that was seen from the camera, was "transferred" to the ground beneath the tower.

Armed with a megaphone and a long stick with a white flag on it (so it is seen from the distance), Mole was able to show the assistants how and where plot the curves of the desired image. The preparations for the shoot took several weeks and the actual positioning of people—several hours.

Statue of Liberty: 18,000 men (the whole torch element took in 16,000 men, while the rest of the "statue" was formed only using 2,000 people). The men at the top of the picture are actually half a mile away from the men at the bottom

The Human Liberty Bell: 25,000 officers and men at Camp Dix, New Jersey, 1918

The Human American Eagle: 12,500 officers, nurses and men at Camp Gordon, Atlanta, Georgia, 1918

The living emblem of the United States Marines: 100 officers and 9,000 enlisted men at the Marine Barracks, Paris Island, South Carolina

Machine Gun Insignia: 22,500 officers and men, 600 machine guns at Machine Gun Training Center, Camp Hancock, Augusta, Ga.

Living insignia of the 27th Division, New York’s Own, breakers of the Hindenberg Line. Formed of 10,000 officers and enlisted men, March 18, 1919

A portrait of President Woodrow Wilson: 21,000 officers and men at Camp Sherman, Chillicothe, Ohio, 1918

The Human US Shield: 30,000 officers and men at Camp Custer, Battle Creek, Michigan, 1918

All photographs taken from here :)


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