Monday, January 18, 2016

Merl laVoy Revisited

American cinematographer Merl laVoy featured before in this weblog. Last year we published on our discovery of footage from his first film, Heroic France (1917). Apart from this World War I film, a series of still photographs taken by LaVoy for this same assignment has also been retrieved.



Merl laVoy (left) with French soldier near Verdun, 1916. Copied from Picture-Play Magazine, September 1917


Special camera frame size

Author Cooper C. Graham located these pictures online. Most of the photographs have a copyright reference to LaVoy and bear a close match to the film scenes shot by LaVoy for his movie Heroic France.  The LaVoy pictures from this period are also interesting because these were shot on a camera with an unusual frame size. In inches, it comes out to 7 inches by 11 inches, a ratio of almost two to one, which means that the pictures look elongated horizontally or vertically.

Here are LaVoy's World War I pictures from France with the original captions, as written on the backside of the prints.




Telephone station at big guns, in communication with observers. "Heroic France"/ The Allies in Action




First line trench. No reference to LaVoy, but similar to film scene from Heroic France





Returning empty 75 mm shells for reloading. Copyright Merl laVoy



Cemetary at the front. Note (c) LaVoy




Firing at enemy airplane. Note (c) LaVoy






Photograph of General Marie Émile Fayolle by LaVoy.  The general was the commander of the Sixth Army at the Somme while LaVoy was shooting film in France






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