Archive for May 31st, 2010

Arthur Mole Photo- Marine Corps Insignia

On this Memorial Day, I thought I would show some patriotic images photographed in the first part of the 20th century by Arthur Mole.  Mole made a name for himself at the time by assembling large groups of people in formations and photographing them from a specially constructed 80-foot tower.  He started at church conventions and later did the same for a number of universities but was probably best known for his symbols of the US and its military. 

 Needing large groups for his intricate compositions, military bases seemed like the perfect place to find massed groups of people to use as the paints on his palette.  For instance, the Marine Corps insignia shown here was shot at Paris Island and took 100 officers and 5000 troops in order to fill out all the details in the composition. 

Athur Mole Photo- Shield of the United States

It took  quite a few more people to fill out the upper details in his compositions as, in order to maintain perspective from the perch where he shot, these areas were considerably larger in size than the than those nearer the camera.  Take this US Shield shot in Battle Creek, Michigan  for example.  It took 30,000 troops to complete this but most of these troops were used in the area above the first row of stars. 

The varying shades were achieved by having the troops wear different clothes obviously.  For the light areas, they simply wore t-shirts and for the dark areas they wore their uniforms.  In the shield photo, those in the dark areas also wore their hats to make the tone more uniform on film.  No shining faces breaking up the dark shades.

Arthur Mole= Liberty Bell

These are pretty amazing photos when you consider that they were taken in world long before Photoshop or any type of computer generation.  It must have taken a tremendous amount of planning and effort to pull off these shoots, from the building of the tower to the precise placement of each soldier.  For that alone they deserve a tip of the hat.
And on this Memorial Day, the sight of troops who sacrificed in some way for our country standing side-by-side to create the symbols tht embody our nation is a  fine way to remember them outside of the battles they fought and the blood and lives they gave. 

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