Saturday, 4 April 2009

First World War Colour Photos

German Prisoners-of-War with a French officer

I came across a WWI photograph that reminded me of a programme I saw about French photographers, who were using colour photography to document the war. When you've been used to seeing the first world war in black and white, it's a strange effect seeing it in colour, immediately it seems less distant.

The photos that stuck me the most were the earlier ones of the French military. Their uniform was a revolutionary red hat and trousers (photo above/below) which made them look like a walking target. The Manchester Guardian describes them at the time.
These soldiers are as conspicuous as claret stains on a new tablecloth.
To give a better idea of just how bad it was, the picture below is a hand coloured German photo, depicting French POW's being transported.

After the unsurprising heavy loss of life on the front lines, their uniforms were changed to the light blue one below.

More photos including some rare non propaganda ones are at The Heritage of the Great War and WWI colour photos sites.

Frenchman in observation Post

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