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August 14, 2014

The Great War in Autochrome: Amazing Color Photographs Document Everyday Life of French Soldiers During WWI

At first glance these photos from the First World War appear to have had digitally colorized, but in fact these rare images were taken using some of the world’s first color cameras.

There were a handful of photographers working during the war in color, using an early technology called autochrome that was first introduced in 1907 by the Lumière brothers. These stunning photographs were taken by Fernand Cuville, who served as a photographer in the French army. His photos capture French soldiers in everyday situations, including cleaning their clothes and eating lunch. They also show war’s destruction in scenes of crumbling buildings and ruined landscapes.

French soldiers move a heavy stone near the construction site at the bridge across the Aisne, 1917.

Four firemen with their equipment, 1917.

Two French soldiers work at a smith’s hearth in a forge destroyed by grenades, 1917.

Three French soldiers take a break in front of a heavily damaged building with their small truck, 1917.

French soldiers from a special unit build a wooden bridge across the Aisne, 1917.

Two French soldiers heat up a meal on an outdoor fireplace made from brick, 1917.

Two French soldiers and horses in the cloister of the Abbey de Saint-Jean-des-Vignes, which was heavily damaged by artillery fire, 1917.

A soldier is shaved by a barber in a French military encampment, 1917.

Six French soldiers with buckets and laundry at a fountain, 1917.

An Algerian guard on a bridge, 1917.

(Photos by Fernand Cuville/Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images, via Slate)



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