This Friday is the Fourth of July, which is also called Independence Day. The Fourth of July is the day that the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence and formally told the world of the Thirteen Colonies’ intent to separate from British rule. You can read more about the history of the Fourth of July on history.com.
I hope you enjoy this selection of America-themed photos that I put together in honor of this special national holiday. Some of these photos were actually taken on a Fourth of July, but some were not.
Fourth of July fireworks behind the Washington Monument, 1986.jpg
By Camera Operator: SSGT. LONO KOLLARS [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
US Navy 050704-N-3019M-002 Fireworks explode over the guided missile frigate USS Crommelin (FFG 37) as part of the 4th of July celebrations at Naval Station Pearl Harbor.jpg
By U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 3rd Class Ryan C. McGinley [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Red, White, and Blue
Big new FDNY fireboat helps celebrate the 4th of July -a.jpg
Additional Information: Source: FIREBOAT
US Navy 080604-N-2984R-062 Sailors wave and throw red, white, and blue streamers onto the pier after the announcement that the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) was moored.jpg
By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Third Class Ricardo Reyes [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Sailors and Marines display the national ensign. (9218500978).jpg
By Official U.S. Navy Page from United States of America MC3 Chelsea Mandello/U.S. Navy (Sailors and Marines display the national ensign.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Author: Official U.S. Navy Page from United States of America MC3 Chelsea Mandello/U.S. Navy
Patriotic Human Formations
The Work of Arthur S. Mole and John D. Thomas
In 1918, photographers Arthur S. Mole and John D. Thomas took these unusual photos of well-known American symbols composed of thousands of soldiers. The Huffington Post notes that these photos were supposed to “get support for the first World War.”
As you can imagine, these photo shoots were no easy task. For instance, the summer heat took its toll during the photo shoot for the “Human Statue of Liberty” picture taken at Camp Dodge in Johnston, Iowa. According to The Huffington Post, “The Fort Dodge Messenger reported that a number of men, who were unfortunately dressed in regulation wool uniforms, fainted as the temperature crept toward an unholy 105 degrees.”
The following pictures are not the only human formation photos that Mole and Thomas took during World War I. You can see additional images at “Arthur S. Mole and John D. Thomas’ WWI Portraits Made From People At Carl Hammer Gallery In Chicago” and at the web site of Chicago’s Carl Hammer Gallery.
MPH 56, Human Statue of Liberty.jpg
By Arthur S. Mole and John D. Thomas, 915 Medinah Bldg., Chicago, Illinois. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
This image and similar photographs by Arthur S. Mole and John D. Thomas: Arthur S. Mole was a British-born commercial photographer who worked in Zion, Illinois. During and shortly after World War I, Mole traveled with his partner John D. Thomas from one military camp to another, posing thousands of soldiers to form gigantic patriotic symbols that they photographed from above. The formations depicted such images as the Liberty Bell, the Statue of Liberty, the Marine Corps emblem and a portrait of President Woodrow Wilson. The Wilson portrait, for example, was formed using 21,000 officers and men at Camp Sherman in Ohio and stretched over 700 feet. His “Human Liberty Bell” was composed from over 25,000 soldiers, arranged with Mole’s characteristic attention to detail to even depict the crack in the bell. Mole and Thomas spent a week or more preparing for these immense works, which were taken from a 70 or 80 foot tower with an 11 by 14 inch view camera. When the demand for these photographs dropped in the 1920s, Mole returned to his photography business in Zion.
This picture, as well as additional photographs produced in the same style by Mole & Thomas and other photographers (and featuring the patriotic themes mentioned in the preceding paragraph), can be viewed at the web site of Chicago’s Carl Hammer Gallery.
The Human U.S. Shield.jpg
By Arthur Samuel Mole [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Additional Information: Source: http://www.georgeglazer.com/prints/military/molethominv/molethominv.html
Camp Gordon Atlanta GA 1918.jpg
Editor’s Note: The web site of Chicago’s Carl Hammer Gallery identifies this photo as one taken by Arthur S. Mole and John D. Thomas.