Archive WWI COLOR photos

Yesterday I discovered  WWIColorPhotos; my son and I were enthralled.  I took every moment I could snatch to look at the batches of photos.  On a host of levels, I find this fascinating. 

Produced on glass plates, these autochrome pictures taken by the Lumière brothers are, according to today’s standards, primitive photos.  But, oh do they vivify my study of history!

The light, the composition, the focus, little details – and ultimately, the subjects of this nascent art form mesmerize me.  I don’t mean to obsess about WWI, but I am learning so much about this period.  While the subject is atrocious, the sense of understanding and the ability to make connections backward and forward is fulfilling.

About the pictures: they are part of the public domain.  I took them from the site, but they came originally from a French link called Gallica.  Pour yourself a cuppa and enjoy.  Passing your mouse over the picture will show you the title.

I could frame this one.

I’ve read that this destruction of the cathedral at Reims by the Germans
incensed the entire world.  This is not Reims, but the cathedral at Soissons.
Is it not painful to see the rubble?

and my favorite:


7 thoughts on “Archive WWI COLOR photos

  1. Before I even saw the ruins of the cathedral, I was wondering to myself how many churches got bombed during the war, and if so, how many were bombed purposely. What was Hitler’s outlook on religion, I wonder? Gorgeous photos!

  2. As a child I was drawn to World War I & II picture books. Carol, the photos vividly brought back childhood-mingled-life-death-heartache-not-understandings. What is it that draw us to something that we do not yet understand? What we see through the eyes of the photographer? Something else? Guns of August awaits me.

  3. Oh Carol, to think these would have been my grandparents…not that long ago really makes me wonder how people will view our “now” not so long from now. re: cathedral bombing. I know that during WWII Hitler intentionally aimed for the oldest and most historic places in England in order to demoralize the people and try to erase any sense of national identity. He wanted to get them ready for his ruling and re-indoctrination.  The people would literally take the stained glass windows down, piece by piece and hide them safely under the churches. When they went to reassemble them after the war, they didn’t always match them up correctly and that is why you will see stained glass windows here and there a bit mixed up. One note worthy one is in Canterbury. I am dying to find Guns of August. Thank you for again expanding and teaching us. hugs from SC

  4. These photos are beautiful, provoking.  I’ll upload a picture the girls found when they were studying WWI.  These photographs are a good example of that saying, “A picture’s worth a thousand words”.

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