Home / History100-Year-Old Color Photos Show a Rare Polychromatic Glimpse of World War I

100-Year-Old Color Photos Show a Rare Polychromatic Glimpse of World War I

The results are a striking look at war, with color bringing the subjects to life.

World War I Color Photography

A Senegalese Bambara. France, 1917. Photographer Paul Castelnau.

Photo of French Army During World War I

Left: Church with remains of statues in the foreground. France, 1917. Photographer Paul Castelnau. | Right: Front line trench: group of hairy in front of the entrance of a shelter. France, 1917. Photographer Paul Castelnau.

Color Photo of WWI Soldiers

Frontline trench group of hairy in front of the entrance of a shelter: the haircut. France, 1917. Photographer Paul Castelnau.

Color Photos World War I

Bombardment of 2 and 3 September: military and civilian populations, fire hose. Dunkirk, France, 1917. Photographer Paul Castelnau.

World War I Color Photography

Barracks. France, 1917. Photographer Paul Castelnau.

Color Portraits World War I

Left: General Antoine, commander of the First Army. France, 1917. Photographer Paul Castelnau | Right: Belgian General Michel, Commander 4th AD (former Minister of War). Belgium, 1917. Photographer Paul Castelnau.

World War I in Tunisia

Return of a column of Zouaves (Alsatians and Lorrainers) coming from the Tripolitan border. Tunisia, 1916. Photographer Albert Samama Chikli.

WWI Color Photography

Group of Senegalese soldiers during the hour of rest. France, 1917. Photographer Paul Castelnau.

World War I Color Photography

At the Swiss border: four French soldiers in front of the fence, marking the border. Basically, Swiss soldiers. France, 1917. Photographer Paul Castelnau.

Color Photos World War I

HQ of the first army. France, 1917. Photographer Paul Castelnau.

WWI Color Photography

Farmyard: Senegalese military washing clothes in troughs. France, 1917. Photographer Paul Castelnau.

Color Photo of WWI Soldiers

Front line trench observation post: three French soldiers under observation behind sandbags. France, 1917. Photographer Paul Castelnau.

 

Thousands of color photos, taken in Tunisia, France, and Belgium over the course of 1916 and 1917, show the impact of war. All told, they are an extraordinary documentation that reminds the public that the heroes of our past aren’t so different than those of our present.

 

All images via Ministry of Culture (France) – Media library for architecture and heritage – NMR diffusion.

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