Living Photographs Formed By Thousands Of U.S. Soldiers

Almost a century ago and without the aid of any pixel-generating computer software, the itinerant photographer Arthur Mole (1889-1983) used his 11 x 14-inch view camera to stage a series of extraordinary mass photographic spectacles that choreographed living bodies into symbolic formations of religious and national community. In these mass ornaments, thousands of military troops and other groups were arranged artfully to form American patriotic symbols, emblems, and military insignia visible from a bird’s eye perspective. During World War I, these military formations came to serve as rallying points to support American involvement in the war and to ward off isolationist tendencies.

More Info – HERE

Lots more pictures – HERE

*Click them to view full-size*
(The photographs appear to be on display at the Hammer Gallery in Chicago, IL)

Simply amazing; the use of perspective is incredible. It would be neat to see this done again.

I wonder if there was a lot of complaining back then? I’m sure there would be plenty today if soldiers were ordered to be involved in this type of project.


8 responses to “Living Photographs Formed By Thousands Of U.S. Soldiers”

  1. I saw these at a museum for the “Big Red One” in Wheaton, IL. If you are in the area, you really should stop:

    1. Admin (Mike) Avatar
      Admin (Mike)

      awesome, how big are the pictures in real life?

  2. Bryan S Avatar
    Bryan S

    Very cool.. but then Woodrow Wilson had to show up. Bastard.

    1. Admin (Mike) Avatar
      Admin (Mike)


  3. bikeman Avatar

    1st Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division did this in May of 2009 in S. Korea. I left just prior to it being done, but the OPORD was out.

    1. Admin (Mike) Avatar
      Admin (Mike)

      Nice! Any idea if the pictures are up somewhere for us to see?

  4. I can’t think of any reason anyone would complain, then or now. I mean, if they’d been forced to make a giant “Jesus Saves” that’d be different ’cause not everybody’s Christian, but come on, who doesn’t love Lady Liberty or the 1st division?

    1. Admin (Mike) Avatar
      Admin (Mike)

      I can’t see all soldiers being thrilled to participate in what boils down to be an “art project”. Historical yes… but having to stand around for hours while the photographer positioned everyone properly would probably be tedious.