Gelatin silver print
Gift of William Kistler, 1977.725
This plate is a reproduction of a satirical drawing by Otho Cushing (American, 1871–1942), an illustrator and cartoonist for Life magazine, who as a captain in the Air Corps was in charge of camouflaging Western Front airfields. Another use of aerial photography was to confirm the effectiveness of camouflage efforts, and it is possible that Steichen and Cushing knew each other because of their respective roles. The commanding officer portrayed resembles General William “Billy” Mitchell, who was a staunch believer in the then-unproven tactical advantages of air power, and who planned the St. Mihiel offensive.
Cushing, as an illustrator, was also called upon to create recruitment posters such as the one shown here, which promoted the technical skills learned by an enlisted man in the Air Service.
Printed recto, in negative, upper center [perpendicular to page], in black: “-The C. O. congratulates young / airman on his snappy “get up”-“; recto, in negative, lower right [perpendicular to page], in black: “Otho Cushing / Capt A. S. S. C.”; printed recto, on album page, lower right, in black ink: “Photographic Section. / Air Service. American Expeditionary Forces.”; inscribed recto, on album page, lower right, in blue ink: “50 49”; unmarked verso