Extraordinary Vintage Group Portraits
In search of some eye-catching imagery to boost morale surrounding US involvement in WWI, the US military commissioned the English-born photographer Arthur Mole and his assistant John Thomas to make a series of extraordinary group portraits. Between 1915 and 1921, with the dutiful help of thousands of servicemen and staff from various US military camps, the duo produced around thirty of the highly patriotic images, which Mole labelled “living photographs”.
Human Statue of Liberty; 18,000 officers and men at Camp Dodge, Des Moines, Ia., ca. 1917/18.
The Human American eagle; 12,500 officers, nurses and men; Camp Gordon, Atlanta, Ga., ca. 1918.
The Human U.S. Shield; 30,000 officers and men, Camp Custer, Battle Creek, Mich., ca. 1918.
Formation photograph of the American flag; sailors, near Great Lakes, ca. 1917.
Machine Gun Insignia; Machine Gun Training Center; 22500 officers and men, 600 machine guns; Camp Hancock, Augusta, Ga., ca. 1918.
Soldiers of the 164th Depot Brigade, Camp Funston, Fort Riley, Kansas, formed into the shape of the U.S. Armed Forces service flag, ca. 1918.
Sincerely yours, Woodrow Wilson, 21,000 officers and men, Camp Sherman, Chillicothe, Ohio., 1918.
The Human Liberty Bell; 25000 officers and men at Camp Dix, New Jersey, ca. 1918.