Norman Bel Geddes Database
Job 453, Life - Naval Battle Photography, 1940-1945, 1956
When the United States declared war in 1941, Bel Geddes and his staff built elaborate miniatures of land and sea conflicts, which were convincingly photographed via the grandiosely titled and marketed “Norman Bel Geddes Process” (see job 28). Proclaimed by New York’s Museum of Modern Art as “a new form of picture journalism” that educated the public about the war, these images were featured in Life magazine, and the models themselves were displayed at the museum in 1944 (see job 499).
Geddes's first assignment, the Battle of the Coral Sea, appeared in the May 25, 1942 issue, less than three weeks after the battle took place.
Some of the effects achieved were ship wakes made of soda, distant rain simulated by a screen of slanting wire threads, long smoke trails of cotton-batting on a framework of wire, and clouds simulated by studio lighting.
Models were used in jobs for the United States Navy (see jobs 420, 446, 458, 470, 475, 485, 488, and 536).