An Accidental Mysteries blast from the past (12/12/08).
ARTHUR MOLE AND HIS ASSOCIATE JOHN THOMAS would spend a week or more planning and assembling these fantastic photographs in the years during and after WWI. As a patriotic gesture to show American strength and to boost morale here at home, the team would first draw the outline they needed on their 11 x 14 inch view camera from a constructed tower some 70 feet high. By taking test photos of men standing shoulder-to-shoulder, say 10 or 20 men across and deep at various points, they could then calculate how many people were needed to complete a line. Then, they had to calculate whether the men were to wear dark or light shirts to complete the arduous task of making the tonalities of the picture correct. Look at the back part of any image (click on image). Obviously, it took many more people to fill a row there than towards the front. Published reports of their projects say soldiers endured full days in wool uniforms standing in heat and other conditions for the pictures—probably a better task than fighting in the trenches of France, where a good portion of them ended up. The images were later sold to raise funds for the troops and care of the wounded when they returned.