Archive for June, 2007

Living Photographs

Arthur Mole and John Thomas, Living Flag, 1917.

Here is an interesting take on the flag and patriotism by Arthur S. Mole and John S. Thomas.

During and after WW I, Mole and Thomas created what they termed “Living Photographs” by arranging thousands of soldiers to create patriotic symbols and photographing them from above. Working with an 11 X 14 inch view camera Mole and Thomas spent a week or so preparing for these immense works. First sketching onto the ground glass and then making a map on the ground that helped determine the number of soldiers needed to create the photograph. The Hammer gallery in Chicago recently had a show of their works.

Check out Cabinet Magazine for an article by Louis Kaplan, Associate professor of history and Theory at the University of Toronto.

Photographs by Mole and Thomas are in the collections of the Chicago Historical Society, the Museum of Modern Art and the Library of Congress.

Liberty Bell
Arthur Mole and John Thomas, The Human Liberty Bell, 1918.
Arthur Mole and John Thomas, Living Uncle Sam, 1919


Welcome to Flag A Day the blog!

Well, here it is again, the holiday you have all been waiting for, June 14, the official “Flag Day,” and incidentally the birthdays of my friends and compatriots Amy Papaelias and Sue Peterson. Happy Birthday!
In the last few years I have observed the proliferation of American flags everywhere I go. Every time I leave the house I am bombarded by images of the American flag. They are on my neighbor’s mailbox, on cookies in the grocery store, at the doctor’s office, you name it and I bet there is a flag there. As a response to this commercialized, consumer ready, (patriotic?) blitz I started photographing the flags I see as I go about my daily life. These photographs will be posted daily on my website accompanied by this blog to post articles and thoughts relating to patriotism, nationalism and the American flag.

Write to me and share your thoughts and photos of flag phenomena.