It's actually quite mind boggling that most of these image were created
over 90 years ago. Using thousands of returned soldiers in post WW1
peace time, English photographer Arthur S Mole and his American
colleague John D Thomas were commissioned by the US government to take
a series of morale building photographs for the troops. They recreated battalion
insignias and symbols of American pride by coordinating the thousands
of soldiers in colour coded clothing and arranging them in such a way
as to correct the distortion of perspective created by distance from
the lens. Amazing.
The images were created by Arthur literally drawing the image in
outline onto the lens of his camera and then coordinating with troops
on the ground who then positioned flags as markers. Each shot took
around 1 whole week to get the outlines right but only half an hour to
move the thousands of soldiers into place for the final shot.
It's a technique that has been replicated many times since but
Here's probably one of the more famous iterations of this technique from 2005 - The Big Beer Ad for Carlton Draught 2005.
Pictured to the right of this post are examples from the series by Mole and Thomas and for more please visit the Carl Hammer Gallery