Human Statue of Liberty Illusion

Lucas Sayre submitted this amazing photo where you can see humanly shaped Statue of Liberty. Originaly titled “Human Statue of Liberty”, this image was taken at Camp Dodge in Iowa and used eighteen thousand men. I collected bunch more and added them to the set. Luke also asked all of as a question. Here it is: “During the WWI years, Arthur S. Mole and John D. Thomas made some incredible human pictures by using thousands of sailors or soldiers in uniform to create images. After looking at the photo, which purports to involve over 18,000 soldiers, I can’t tell if it’s fake or real. If it is real, it seems to me that there would have to be more soldiers to make up the statute as it goes up and away from the perspective of the camera, in order to maintain the shape of the statue of liberty. Maybe your readers can decipher how it was done.”

93 Replies to “Human Statue of Liberty Illusion”

  1. Either it’s very skillfully faked, or the US Army had thousands of soldiers with way too much time on their hands.

    “Are you kidding? I can’t deploy 7500 men to the front! I need them to make a giant representation of President Roosevelt!”

  2. This is the coolest one in quite awhile considering how much time it took back in those days to take a photograph without all the people coming out blurry.

  3. They’re real, and are available from the Library of Congress. They were done by planning over several days where each person would stand. Mole and Thomas are considered pioneers in group performance photography.

  4. Definitely real. First, part of the “unreal” effect is created by the face they are using VERY wide-angle lenses (look at the warping in the foreground).
    Yeah, you have about 10 people in the front row, and several hundred in the back row, because of the distance.
    Some of the effects are created by different positions – ie, standing, sitting or laying down.
    Perhaps they painted the design on the ground first, so everyone knew where to stand?

  5. oooh I dunno! This is really cool but, as the perspective gets farther away they would have to get a loooot of people at the top, so I don’t know if it’s real or not. If it is, that’s some really good planning and even better perspective understanding!

  6. Wow that is just incredible. I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of work and talent it would take to be able to get everybody to line up just exactly to form whatever shape they’re making.

  7. I like the fact that they have designed the pictures so that the perspective looks correct even though the photos are taken from an angle.

    With regards to the amount of people involved: Maybe they are standing further apart from each other as the distance from the camera grows. After all “pixilation” will be a lot less visible in the distance.

  8. some dont look too real to me, but they are awsome. i love it when ppl get together for something artistic

  9. Woh, so many! He must have been at it for years. And who paid for it all?! Still, looks amazing.
    I’d be really surprised if it weren’t real as the photos seem to come from pre-Photoshop days.

  10. I’m The first woooohoo been waiting for this for years!!!

    Nice work on these!
    i like them even more coz they look older than most!

  11. It appears real to me as the pixel size (heads) get smaller as they move away from the foreground. There are only 17 people in the front row so 18,000 or so seems about the right number. -Gary

  12. I have seen these before — they are real. Look at the back rows, they use many more people to account for the foreshortening. The actual figures as seen from directly above must have been very distorted.

  13. Wow, those pics are awesome! That is amazing to me that they got thousands of people to stand for a photo like that. Nice Illusion ;)

  14. This is cool, but if you do the math and take a look, it’s really only about 750 men, not 18,000 in the Statue of Liberty.

  15. I don’t buy it… it looks amazing but it would be too much an effort to do this. I think those guys had better things to do. I think there is too much detail in the ‘inner edges’ so to speak: a thin line of humans that look darker. I find it very hard to believe that the artist knew how every person would look from above and personally put him in place

  16. wow thats pretty cool…
    as for the question
    I’m not really sure how they did that with only 18000 people

    once the people reach the head and the raised arm of the statue, they are much smaller than the people in the front,
    over that long distance they may have spaced out the lines of people more than the front
    because of the angle of the shoot
    just to take the heads of the people.
    phew! long sentence.
    i could be wrong… im no expert

  17. This is a cool illustration showing how all kinds of different people can band together and unite for the greater good. More of this is needed in the world, then maybe there wouldn’t be so much war and hatred.

  18. Yay first comment

    I can only see the 1st one (all others come up with an X).It looks real but i doubt that there’s 18,000 men in it

  19. That is so cool. this must be done like the chalk art that looks 3-D because even as it goes farther away the shape doesn’t get smaller.

  20. I dont think its fake. but you never no, they did fake the moon landing. so its hard to say whats real and whats not.

    1. No . They didnt . Mythbusters even proved it . The moon landing is real and is irrelevabt to this anyway

  21. This is soo cool

    on some of the pictures it looks fake, cuz the people get really small.
    but its a cool affect if its real

    oh, and 1st comment!!!

  22. 18.000?! Unbelievable! I’d say, it’s less than 18.000. But the created images are amazing, indeed!

  23. This is amazing…I wonder if he paid people to stand there for hours or if they just volenteered? It must of taken a lot of work and time to complete this.

  24. Those are pretty amazing. The scale on the images is huge, and if they are real, the time to get everyone organized to take the shot must have been rather long. Awesome find!

  25. Amazing! We made something like that in my school. We made that because near us there was a terrorist attack.

  26. lol, its good to see that American soldiers were helping us Brits the best they could in World War Two =D

    But in answer to that question.. yes, alot more soldiers would be needed at the back of the picture for the perspective… hence the 18000 needed (you’re able to count the front row, cant even spot heads at the back)

  27. I saw the first one from an e-mail. It said that WWII soilders formed the statue before going into battle.

  28. Yes, it’s authentic, Kathy. I’m from an era where people actually got together and did things like this. Impressive, isn’t it?

  29. Re: Human Statue of Liberty
    FACTS: Base to Shoulder: 150 feet Right Arm: 340 feet Widest part of arm holding torch: 12 1/2 feet Right thumb: 35 feet Thickest part of body: 29 feet Left hand length: 30 feet Face: 60 feet Nose: 21 feet Longest spike of head piece: 70 feet Torch and flame combined: 980 feet Number of men in flame of torch: 12,000 Number of men in torch: 2,800 Number of men in right arm: 1,200 Number of men in body, head and balance of figure only: 2,000 Total men: 18,000

  30. The team that took these pics spent days marking out the image on the ground, so the troops could get in position quickly; they’d make the necessary adjustments in a hour or two, and take the picture.
    One reason the pics may appear odd, is how much you are looking down on the troops at the bottom of the picture, yet the horizon is nice and horizontal at the top of the picture. That doesn’t happen with a normal camera. A view camera was used for these. By shifting and tilting the lens relative to the focal plane, this perspective is achieved.

    1. The human Statue of Liberty is real .My grandfather was in it .The photo of it hung in his bedroom for years .I have no idea what happened to it

  31. um…those are obviously lots of men in uniforms (darker and lighter clothes). you can see their heads (in the close ups).

    really cool & creative images.

  32. As unbelievable as they may seem, they ARE REAL. Not everything we see is an illusion… especially something this dated. Look at them again, and enjoy, … because you are not being tricked this time.

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