Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pixel by Pixel

Living Portraits are nothing unseen these days. With crowds at football games spelling out words and the everyman celebrity in local Lip Dubs, our lives have become a series of portraits.

But in 1917 the idea was something of a novelty. These amazing portraits were taken by Arthur S. Mole and John D. Thomas WITHOUT the aid of a computer in the early 20th century. Best known for their wartime propaganda, the duo was extraordinarily precise in their placement of these human pixels.
Think about what creating one of these would entail. The Statue of Liberty image for example, contains 18,000 men, but because of the perspective, the flame contained 12,000 while her head and body contained only 2,000. (click image to see it enlarged)

The logistics and choreography required to organize a group of this size absolutely blows my mind. I learned about this historic American treasure in an article* from July 2007's Martha Stewart Living. Now I'm on a mission to find a postcard-size reprint at a flea market. It's time to go hunting!

*This isn't the article I read (Patriotism in Formation by Marion Roach – Which I couldn't find online) but it gives a similar history if if you're interested in more information.

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