Living Photography of Arthur Mole
U.S. photographer Spencer Tunick is known for his massive compositions of naked people posing in public settings all around the world. That’s modern day photography for you. If you turn back time then you can draw few similarities between the extraordinary mass photography of British-born Arthur Mole.
His partner in this endeavor was John Thomas. During World War I, the two of them would go to military bases and deploy thousands of male soldiers to form national or patriotic symbols like Statue of Liberty, American eagle, human shield, Liberty Bell to name a few.
Through his work, Mole showed his allegiance to the US. Although we don’t support war, but his work was worth a mention on this blog. He has made some mind-blowing images along with Thomas. Take a look at the image on the left, Statue of Liberty appears pixelated, but its not, these are the soldiers photographed from the top of an 80-foot viewing tower.
At that time there was no Photoshop or any image-enhancing software, Arthur did it with his 11×14 inch view camera. The ‘Human Statue of Liberty’ was a cross dressed affair that assembled 18,000 soldiers to play Lady Liberty. It measures nearly 1200 feet; quite challenging. The photo was taken from the top of a specially constructed tower by a Chicago photography studio.
The Human Shield
Mole’s largest living photograph was ‘The Human Shield,’ where 30,000 officers from the US defense forces were used to form this spectacular image. He aligned the troops in thirteen swathes, alternating between white and dark uniforms to depict the stripes. When you see these images from the ground or even a bit above it would look funny, with huge number of people queued up. When seen from a good height, you can spot the symbols. His judgment was accurate too, the angle and the line from where the full image would stand out.
Living Portrait of President
Living Portrait of President Woodrow Wilson, for which he used 21,000 troops in Ohio, in 1918, is one of the well-known photographs of Mole. The image stretched over 700 feet. Mole’s work was also illusionary, by focusing on the whole image than individuals forming the image.
Even the parting of Woodrow’s hair looks so real, credit also goes to the soldiers who stood for hours together to make this possible. In fact some of them have fainted as well during the shoot.
Post World War I, Mole composed ‘The Zion Shield’ which is an aggressive portrait of a crusader. You will find text as well in this image, which are handheld placards. There are words like ‘Righteousness’ emblazoned at the top of his breastplate, ‘Truth’ in the middle and ‘Word of God’ on his sword. Its quite intricately done.
Here are few of their other photographs.
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