THESE photographs lift the lid on the life-changing work of a sculptor who made masks for horrifically injured soldiers.
Images taken shortly after the conclusion of the First World War show the terrible facial injuries suffered by French soldiers because of gunshot, shrapnel and blast injuries.
One man has lost the entire right side of his face, another his nose. But in a second set of pictures the same soldiers after receiving masks.
This is thanks to pioneering sculptor Anna Coleman Ladd who created custom-made prosthetics for each of them to wear over their wounds.
Ladd was a well-regarded American-born sculptor who towards the end of 1917, with less than a year of the war remaining, founded the American Red Cross studio for portrait-masks.
The first of its kind, the studio was dedicated to helping men who had been badly disfigured during the war.
Soldiers would come to Ladd’s studio to have a cast made of their faces, which would then be used to help construct the prosthetic from very thin copper.
The masks would then be painted to try and resemble the soldiers’ skin colour, and each piece would be adorned with some form of string or eyeglasses in order to keep it in place.
Speaking about her often difficult work, Ladd said: “I am not concerned with the outer obstacles, only inner ones.
“Artists are born with an inextinguishable love of life, and the need of expressing it.”
In recognition of her work, Ladd was awarded the Légion d’Honneur by the French government and the Order of Saint Sava by the Serbian government in 1935.
She retired in 1936 and passed away in 1939, at the age of 61.
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