These photos might look like they're of ordinary objects from far away, but up close they're actually full of people.

If you look closely at these photos, you’ll notice something different. It’s not that they’re black and white, or patriotic. It’s that there are thousands of U.S. soldiers in them. They were taken during WWI to help the U.S. government boost morale.

A single photo took weeks to produce, and required thousands of U.S. servicemen and women. This photo, taken in Battle Creek, Michigan involved 30,000 U.S. soldiers. The men behind these photos were photographer Arthur Mole and John Thomas.

The duo captured these images ‘old-school,’ before the invention of drones. They would start with a piece of glass on Mole’s camera with the design they wanted. Then, with a megaphone and pointing stick, Mole climbed an 80-foot viewing tower. He would direct people to outline the design using miles and miles of wire. After that, thousands of soldiers would simply step into place.

The proper angle was essential to capturing the perfect photo. The foreground of some photos might only have 20 people.
But the backgrounds have thousands, just for a tiny part of the image. Mole’s pictures were worth more than a thousand words.
They were worth thousands of people!


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